Community Success Stories YMCA Leaders Live Out the “No Child Turned Away” Motto

We’re sharing success stories from UW member organizations who are demonstrating excellent care for our community members. 


This one comes from the YMCA in Wheeling:


“I would like to take this opportunity to share another feel-good story with our friends at the United Way. I received a phone call from Child Protective Services last year asking me if I could accept two children in the camp. I was told that they have been removed from their parent’s custody because the parents were arrested for selling illegal drugs and placed in jail. She also informed me that the grandma was awarded temporary custody but did not have the finances to send the children to camp. I was asked if there was anything I could do to help her out. 

I told the CPS worker to have grandma give me a call. The grandma called me within 15 minutes of hanging up the phone with the CPS worker. I immediately felt sympathy for this lady as I could hear the desperation, anxiety, and quivering in her voice. She said, “Brian, I have a very limited income to support my grandchildren. I am in pain, and it is very hard on me to take care of my grandkids, but I have nowhere for them to go this summer, and I can’t afford to put them in daycare”, she said .”I don’t want or expect anything for free, but any financial aid you could spare would be greatly appreciated”. 

I knew immediately she was in a big bind. The YMCA’s motto has always been we will never turn any child away for the inability to pay. I instantly said WE will take care of it; I am waiving the fee for you. You do not owe us anything! 

She didn’t say a word, and I heard her start to cry. She, in a crying voice, said Thank You, Brian. I replied it is our pleasure to help you! 

Since that phone call informing her the grandchildren may come for free, she has periodically baked for all the kids in camp and made little crafts for the kids and the staff. 

The financial assistance we receive from the United Way and other allies of the YMCA helps us continue to help those in need and continue to impact children’s lives one day at a time! Thank You so much!”


YMCA Agency Page