James M.

Morgan Family YMCA

When James began his Y membership in 2002, he didn't have any friends, and his social life was self-described as"non-existent." James suffers from a number of debilitating health conditions that prevent him from maintaining gainful employment, and living alone in a Tacoma apartment created a sense of isolation he was unable to confront. 

"I came to the Y every night and sat in the hot tub, but I never talked to anyone because I didn't want to bother them," James admits.

But this all changed when a staff member recomended that James try enrolling in the YMCA Journey to Freedom program. This course is designed to help people reconnect with their passions, process old wounds, and believe in a brighter future. Through the course, James unearthed a passion for chess he had buried over time. Since then, he has transformed that passion into a thriving chess program that meets every Wednesday night at the Y. 

Each week, members old and young congregate around James to exercise their minds in a game of chess. The Y has helped James connect to a sense of purpose, and James has taken that purpose to help connect others and engage more fully in life and relationship.