University Y Student Center

Rich Garcia was looking for a place to belong after his life was turned upside down. Rich had recently experienced a stroke, and started to have trouble remembering things. Not long ago, his father passed away, and his mother sent him up to Tacoma to live with his sister. Rich has a Master’s Degree in Sports Performance, so naturally, he joined the Y.

After joining, he quickly found out that the Y is so much different than any other gym. “My life is falling apart and I don’t know where I’m going to be. The Y gives me hope and family.” Rich has been coming to the Y almost every day since he started his membership last October. “The Y helps me feel happy. The way the staff is helpful and friendly helps me feel like I’m part of something, and that has really helped me.”

Rich loves to walk around the track, but was having a hard time knowing how many laps he has completed. The Y staff installed key rings on the balcony wire that he could slide across as he made each lap. Rich’s stroke also affected his ability to walk. He has been going to group exercise classes like SilverSneakers® to help his movement.

Rich likes to be able to bring his cane and sees other members with canes. “It makes me feel accepted, like I’m at home… The speed or amount of exercise doesn’t matter, the sense of family matters—it’s a blessing to me.”