November 2020

MY Y STORY - Melissa Eich

Melissa Eich has been a proud Y member for many years, more than she can count. She has done many different fitness classes and programs at the Y. She began with the FitLinxx and then joined the ActivTrax with Curt, whose friendship she appreciates to this day and who encouraged her to start going to her Aqua class. Melissa started going every day and rediscovered her love for the water. She stated that she had found her “home class” and said she did not miss walking on the treadmill, which was “nowhere as exciting”.  

Melissa struggles with diabetes and expressed said that her instructor, Cat, has been a great support to her in combatting her disease. More than anything, Melissa appreciates the community she has found at the Y and is glad to not be completely quarantined at her home anymore. She enjoys going to the very small group classes being offered at the Y. She has found a real sense of community within her classes and encourages other people who are new to the class to keep coming. Melissa has lost weight and gotten stronger over the years, and is incredibly grateful for the love and support she has gotten along the way: from the people at the front desk, to Rick the lifeguard, to all the people in her fitness classes. 

MY Y STORY - Jen Arneson

Jen Arneson is the Director of Nursing at UnityPoint Health – Marshalltown. She has four children, including 8-year-old Lucien. When COVID hit, it wasn’t an option for her or her husband to stay home from work so initially her 17-year-old was watching Lucien at home. Jen and her husband decided this was not a good long-term solution but were having a hard time finding childcare in Marshalltown. She reached out to the Y for childcare and found there were openings. Jen felt very safe sending Lucien to the Y; She appreciated that the Y kept the kids in small groups to minimize contact and consistently took their temperatures. Jen highlighted that the Y met a highly important need for her family at a crucial time. Her son’s original summer plans were cancelled so he continued going to the Y throughout the summer. Lucien enjoyed the counselors and going swimming in the Y pool, even though he wished he could have been with more kids. The Y is honored to be serving essential workers in these difficult times. 

MY Y STORY - Kayla Montgomery

Three years ago, Kayla moved from Reno, Nevada to Marshalltown with her husband and her son, Dante. She has been taking her son to the YMCA for around a year and a half now and is very content with the care her son is receiving. Like many, Kayla finds the staff at the Y to be incredibly warm and welcoming. Dante has been a part of the Y’s summer camp and recently started going to the after-school program. Kayla finds it very helpful that he is bused from his school to the YMCA program, because it means she doesn’t have to rush out of work to go pick him up and it gives her time to finish things up at the end of the day. 

 Kayla highlighted that the Y has been a place for Dante to build new friendships and deepen friendships with kids from school. Like many 11-year-old boys, Dante has a lot of energy and Kayla is happy that he is kept active and engaged at the Y. Kayla says that Dante is always excited when he comes home from the Y and she says that, especially in time of COVID, the social interaction he gets with other kids at the Y has been great for him and she sees a noticeable difference in his behavior. The Y has helped her son adjust to life in Marshalltown, stay active and build friendships. 

MY Y STORY - Denise Castillo

Denise moved to Iowa from Mexico 7 years ago and started going to the YMCA 3 years ago. She says she wishes she had known about it sooner because it has become one of her favorite places to be. She commented that when she walks into the Y, she forgets everything else and gets to spend peaceful time with herself. She is very grateful for the free, dependable childcare that the Y provides and that enables Denise to consistently get a good workout in. Her young son, Danilo, has loved going to the Y’s swimming lessons and dance classes. Throughout the short interview, Denise raved about the Y facilities. She said she feels very safe at the Y: everything is kept very clean; people keep 6 feet apart and do a good job at wiping down the equipment after they use it. For Denise, the Y has become the place she goes to relax and spend quality time taking care of her health.