Aiko

Lakewood Family YMCA

As a young girl growing up north of Tokyo, Aiko saw ads for the newly rebuilt YMCAs and wanted to go, but her family couldn’t afford a membership. After retirement, she was excited to have the opportunity to live simply and donate more to the causes closest to her heart. She bought a small house in Lakewood and started looking for ways to stay active. Her search soon led her to the Lakewood Family YMCA.

“I joined the Y in 1998,” Aiko says. “I knew I had to exercise. I was working, but then I retired and all of a sudden, I stopped moving, and I know that’s not very good for your health.”

For 20 years, Aiko has been coming to the Y four times a week for group exercise classes. She always feels better after working out and it gives her more energy to do the things she loves – walking her dogs around Chambers Bay, painting, and gardening.

At the Y, Aiko has found more than just a place to exercise – she’s found a community that feels like family. She has also developed a close bond with one of her instructors, Debra, whose low-impact cardiovascular class she attends two days a week.

Aiko has generously supported the Y for almost a decade. She cares about making sure everyone has the opportunity to experience programs at the Y, especially in the Lakewood community, where the average household income is 34% lower than Washington state. So, when she was asked to help kids whose families couldn’t afford to attend Summer Day Camp, she decided to make a significant gift.

“I like to keep my donations local,” she says. “I have to give it away, I’m not getting any younger. When you don’t have any kids, you try to help someone who needs it. I feel good when I’m helping somebody.”

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