Since 1858, the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne has been positively impacting lives. Its commitment to healthy living, social responsibility, and youth development has helped to strengthen the foundation of our community. More than 45,000 individuals have been served by the facilities located in our city. The YMCA is a non-profit organization that offers a wide array of programs and services to meet the needs of our community. These programs support the mission to “put Christian values into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.
One of the youth development programs offered by the YMCA is child care. The YMCA believes that children deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. The child care programs allow them to learn and cultivate skills while building solid relationships with others. There are three different child care programs offered by the YMCA: Before and After School Care, Summer Day Camps, and Child Watch. I had the opportunity to volunteer some time in Child Watch. This service allows members to drop their kids off in the Child Watch center while they workout. It is a free service for members that is very convenient.
My time in Child Watch was a great experience. I spent time playing with blocks, Lego’s, and the famous Mr. Potato Head. I wanted to connect with each child. I wanted to create smiles and laughter. We had a good time playing. It took some of the children a few minutes to warm up and feel comfortable with me. I do not believe that the Child Watch center gets too many male volunteers. They did not know what to think of me at first, but it didn’t take long for them to jump in to our games or jump on my as a jungle gym. We also enjoyed story time together. I read two books and had a great time doing it. After story time, we sat down to complete a craft. We all colored butterfly masks. Each mask was filled with color and mounted onto a stick. The children really enjoyed coloring the masks and making their butterflies fly afterwards. I finished my time with the children watching a movie. Sleeping Beauty was the movie selection on this particular day. We sat down on the floor as the movie began. I had children fighting to get on my lap. I think I ended up having one on each knee. We sat and watched the movie as Child Watch came to close.
I am a firm believer that investing time in children will always create a positive memory. I spent two hours volunteering with the YMCA and I made many new friends. I went from a complete stranger to someone the children hated to see leave. I did not do anything special. I took time to play with and read to children. We live in a busy world. Our calendars are full of stressful life events. This volunteer experience is another reminder that we all need to stop and spend time with our children. This is something that I have been saying for years, but often fail to do. I have put so many things in life before my children and this is something for which I am ashamed. I realize that this is an opportunity for me and it is something I will always work to improve. Love to a child is spelled T-I-M-E. We need to invest it in our children and the children in our communities. When we do, we make a positive impact. I enjoyed my time with the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne. I admire the passion the staff showed for members and the children. This passion and commitment will continue to positively affect our community by creating a healthy spirits, healthy minds, and healthy bodies.