Meet Molly McGuinness, age 10. Molly enjoys singing, drawing, writing and being creative. Molly came to the Y Day Camp and Before and After School program in 2010, which is based out of Waukee Elementary School. According to her mother, Michelle Fidler, Molly has grown tremendously as a result of her participation in the Y program.
“Molly was diagnosed with high-functioning autism as a three-year-old,” says Michelle. “Molly struggles navigating social situations and making good choices. She has also struggled with some behavioral situations that sometimes organizations don’t always want to deal with. When I came to the Y and talked to Gretchen Stanger [Youth Development Director], I was blown away with the way she wanted to partner with me. She was committed to her growth and I really felt she had a stake in her future.”
YMCA programs focus on nurturing the potential of every child. Michelle feels that Cyndi Doerr, Site Supervisor for the program, and the other Y staff have created an environment which allows that to be true for Molly. “
The Y staff are patient. They help her by providing options for making positive choices. They give her guidance and empower her to make the right decisions. When she doesn’t, they provide appropriate consequences. I see her play out some of those choices at home, which she observes from the Y leaders,” says Michelle.
Michelle also shared that making friends can be difficult for Molly based on her social skills. “Molly comes home from camp and is excited to go because she can play with specific kids,” she says. “It means a lot to see her have friends and be excited about camp. One of those friends even came over for her birthday party outside of
Molly will be a 5th grader at Vince Meyer Learning Center this fall and will continue to be involved in the program. “I feel we are very blessed to have the Y program,” says Michelle. “I think it has really helped her develop.”
The Y offers a broad range of youth programs that focus on healthy decision making, parental engagement, and character development.
Visit www.dmymca.org for more information or stop by the Y to get involved.