Marisa and Eric were career novices and living in downtown Jamestown when their son, Elias, was born. A paramedic at the time, Marisa worked odd shifts. Eric worked more regular hours and was able to walk to work. When Elias was 18 months old, they looked to the YWCA for childcare. The Fourth Street location was perfect. As Marisa recalls, they loved the staff and had such a good experience, they later enrolled Oliver, now 6, and Adeline, now 5.
Marisa adds, “We liked that it wasn’t just a daycare, but a learning environment, and the teachers were great. The kids also loved the gym and activities.”
Marisa explains that her children are all different and challenging in their own way. In kindergarten in the public school, Elias was eventually diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, a condition that affects how the brain processes sensory stimuli such as noises and bright lights. However, even prior to the diagnosis, the UPK staff at the YWCA engaged with each child, approaching them with best techniques to meet their individual needs.
The kids have stayed close with the other children they met at the YWCA, maintaining friendships at the public school. The boys have also attended summer camp at the YWCA Lake Lodge and continue in the afterschool program at Bush Elementary. Marisa appreciates that the programs at the YWCA serve many groups and adds that “it’s good for the kids to know that there is a diverse population in Jamestown.”
Since those early days, Marisa has gone on to become a nurse and is currently working on a master’s degree. While the family no longer needs the programs at the YWCA, Marisa shares that the toddler, preschool and UPK programs were available at just the right time and in the right location for their family, and she would recommend the programs to anyone.