STRENGTHENING SPIRIT, MIND AND BODY
Dewey has been deaf since he was a small boy, but that hasn’t prevented him from enjoying a full life. He has always been very involved in his community by teaching and mentoring other deaf individuals, including two of his four children who were born deaf. That was until a series of heart attacks left him very ill and in need of a stint in his heart. Dewey’s Doctor was very concerned about his health and informed him that he needed to start walking for at least 30 minutes a day in order to get healthier and help prevent additional health problems.
Dewey took his Doctor’s advice and began walking on an outdoor track, but he knew that he couldn’t continue a fitness routine on his own and that he needed assistance and someone to hold him accountable. During one of his walks, he decided to take a look in the window at the Y. “I had never stepped inside a YMCA before, but what I saw through the window that day really intrigued me and I wanted to see more,” said Dewey. “I didn’t know if I could afford a membership, but decided to take a closer look anyway.”
When Dewey first made his way inside the Y, he walked right past the front desk, not realizing that Taylor, the membership director, was trying to get his attention. After recognizing that Dewey was deaf, Taylor spent the next several hours writing notes back and forth with him in an effort to better understand his specific needs. The process was very rewarding for Taylor and she worked tirelessly to help him finalize his membership application and apply for financial assistance. She asked that in return, he teach her a new word in sign language every time he visited the Y. Dewey gladly obliged and over time, he even began spending some of his time assisting other deaf members.
After several months at the Y, Dewey began feeling more energized and gradually increased his physical activity. Today,
he exercises two hours every day and has never felt better. Taylor has learned countless new words in sign language from Dewey and even attends sign language classes in her spare time. Although she doesn’t consider herself an expert, she has a true servant’s heart and has been able to help many deaf individuals and families by assisting them with their membership needs.
“The relationships I have made at the Y have strengthened not only my body, but also my mind and my spirit,” said Dewey. “I’m so glad that I decided to look in the window that day.” Taylor, on the other hand, said that, “Dewey needed the Y, but in the end, I needed him.” She continued, “I don’t know if he realizes what he has meant to me.
Thank you for supporting the YMCA OF GREATER OKLAHOMA CITY and giving individuals like Dewey a place that they can get healthy, create strong bonds and help others along the way.