See for yourself what the “Find Your People. Find Your Y.” headline is all about. Here are just 5 (out of 350 to be exact) Y stories shared over the past month. It won’t take you long to see how our members, our Y family, found their people and Y.


Dana Chesterfield YMCA Story

"I’ve been going to the Y at 5:00 AM for the past 26 years on weekdays. Our 5 AM crew is unlike any other! Everyone is friendly, kind and we have become lifelong friends. 27 years ago my "treadmill girls" had a baby shower for me at 5:00 AM ON THE TREADMILLS - balloons, gifts, cake etc. We have become friends outside of the Y and still get together every morning at 5 AM. The early morning crowd is dedicated, fun, great cooks (oh the recipes we have shared!) and dependable! The people are the reason I set my alarm for 4:30 am... I wouldn't be there without them!”

- Dana, Chesterfield Family YMCA



Vikas South County YMCA Story

"I came to the USA on a temporary visa for the position of Research Scientist with my wife and 2-year-old son. When my family and I first arrived in the USA, finding a place where we could all be together wasn't easy. Most places had strict rules, but then we discovered the Y. It wasn't just a gym; it was a warm, inviting space where everyone was welcome, regardless of age or background. They offered Child Watch for my son where he started to be friends with the Kids of USA. Settling into a new country, especially on a temporary visa, was challenging. But at the Y, we found more than just a fitness center. It became our haven, a place where we felt like we truly belonged. Unlike my workplace, where expressing ideas felt restricted, the Y embraced us like family. It wasn't just a place to exercise; it was a sanctuary where our family blossomed, where diverse cultures came together, and where acceptance had no limits. The Y wasn't just a gym; it was our home away from home and country.”

- Vikas, South County Family YMCA


Tiffany O'Fallon Illinois YMCA Story

"The Y has literally given me myself back! As a mother of 3 small boys it was hard for me to take time for myself all these years with them growing(oldest is now 7) but since joining the Y I have met so many kind and wonderful people from small to old and learned so much about myself and my body that I never knew! I get up excited knowing I get to go help myself be physically and mentally strong. I go knowing my toddler son is well cared for and loved by the staff and that makes it even easier bc I struggle leaving him with others. The Y has literally given me back a spark in me that I didn’t think I had once I became a mother! It’s given me a purpose to come and be myself!!! I love it!!!"

- Tiffany, O'Fallon Illinois YMCA


Antionette O'Fallon Park Rec Comlex Story

"The Y has impacted my life in so many ways. Let me just start by saying my daughter and I love it here. It's gives us the opportunity to meet new people everyday. The staff is amazing. This also gave me and my daughter the opportunity to do what we love at the same time. Now we can swim and working out at the same time. I'm a single mother so it has always been hard for me to afford to sign my daughter up for different after school activities, with all the different pricing. The Y gave me an affordable rate on different after school activities. My daughter is now on the volley ball team, taking swimming lessons, and working out all in one place. We love the YMCA! This is how the Y impacted my life today. Thanks again for allowing us to be apart of your organization. :)"

- Antionette, O'Fallon Park Rec Complex


Laura RiverChase YMCA Story

"The YMCA has truly changed my life. I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure at the age of 38. After having an ablation to help correct the issue causing the heart failure, I turned to my cardiologist for advice. He informed me that he needed me to walk, but he DID NOT want me walking out in the heat of a Missouri summer. I turned to the YMCA for help, because of my condition, I had not been working and was on state help. My husband was also out of work for the summer, and we didn't have any way to afford any gym memberships. Well, luckily, the first face I met at Riverchase YMCA was Millie. She greeted me and my husband with open arms and informed us that the YMCA offers financial assistance for people just like us! And sure enough, after waiting with our free week of YMCA access, we qualified! Since joining I have not ONLY seen my heart rate level out, but I have ALSO lost 15lbs in the process! An added bonus! I can say CONFIDENTLY now at age 39 my life is turning around. Having classes, meeting new people, and being greeted by the amazing staff with some of the BEST facilities the YMCA has to offer, I am excited every day to just show up for myself. I don't think I could put into words ENOUGH how grateful I am to the YMCA for helping me truly heal myself, body and mind. I feel a part of something bigger at the YMCA, the community, the acceptance, it's unlike anything else I've ever experienced."

- Laura, RiverChase YMCA



Blog Written by Alex Kirby, Senior Digital Communications Manager at the Gateway Region YMCA.