Meet Shelby and James
With the help of generous donors like you, James and thousands of kids like him participate in life-changing programs at the Y every year. With our doors open to all, the Y brings together people from all backgrounds and supports those who need us most.
Being a parent is hard work. But it’s even more difficult when you are tackling it on your own.
Like James, more than 317,000 children in Oklahoma live in single-parent households and 1 in 4 children in the United States is left unsupervised after school.
For Shelby, life before the YMCA was always difficult. She struggled at her job because she constantly worried about who was going to take care of James and transport him to and from school every day. Additional stress was added because she never knew when she would have to leave her job early to pick him up due to an inability to find assistance.
“I never had any consistency with his schedule,” said Shelby. “I was also really concerned about what activities he was involved in while I was at work.”
Shelby was also in constant fear that she was going to have to change shifts at work, which would have made her life very difficult. With no family around to help her, she desperately needed a safe place for James so that she could be at peace knowing he was being well taken care of every day.
“I’m able to work now without worrying, and that’s a huge weight off my shoulders,” said Shelby. “Plus, if I have to leave work a little late every once in a while, that’s o.k. because I finally have reliable before and after school care for my son.”
Shelby says that’s not the only reason that she is thankful for the Y.
“James loves the staff at the Y, and especially enjoys spending time with Austin, a Y staff member who has become a great mentor to him. Austin helps James with his school work and has really helped him come out of his shell.”
Shelby says that, like many other single parents, there is no way that she could afford the Y for her son if it weren’t for the financial assistance she receives.
“I can’t express enough how thankful I am that the Y works with me and helps me financially. Knowing that my son is growing up in this environment and building good, strong relationships is such a blessing,” said Shelby. ”Because of the Y, my son’s future is brighter, and so is mine.”