John H.

Tacoma Center YMCA

John has been involved with the Y for many years. When his son was young, he knew he wanted to instill positive character traits in him, so he brought him to the Mel Korum Family YMCA for swim lessons, karate classes, and youth sports. When his children were old enough to go to school, he got them signed up for before and after school care provided by YMCA Child Care. He was impressed by the quality of the athletic programs and by the mentoring that staff offered his children.

Knowing what the Y offered to youth, John knew that the Y could offer him the same caring and support during a hard season of his life.

"After my divorce, I was driven to a dark, depressing place," John says. He started using drugs and knew that he needed to surround himself with positive influences so that he could turn his life around. He turned to the Tacoma Center YMCA, where he became a member in 2010.

"This place is my center; my sanctuary."

Whether he is walking the track, hanging out in the front lounge talking with other members, or lifting weights, John enjoys the lively community at the Y. Every day, he sees himself making progress.

"I am getting back into working out and taking care of myself. It's a slow process but I am getting there," John says. "One thing that makes my time at the Y different than any other health club or community center is that everyone knows my name. When I come in, Mark and Telly know my name. Tina asks how I am doing, and it makes me feel like I belong here."