Hayden’s Second Chance

It has never been easy for Hayden. His childhood lacked the guidance and support children require in their early years. Before he had even reached his teenage years, Hayden experienced more challenges and struggles than many people face in their entire lifetime.

At was 11 years old, Hayden began living full-time with his great-grandparents, Sheila and Garfield, who had recently gained full custody of him. He was enrolled in a new school and was encouraged to join extra-curricular activities to meet new friends and enjoy physical activity. Growing up, Hayden was never given opportunity to play sports and join programs and activities. However, Hayden had always enjoyed swimming, so joining the Gators Swim Team at the YMCA Campbellford outdoor swimming pool seemed like a good fit. The swim team gave him the opportunity to meet new friends and enhance his swim skills during the summer months. Even aside from the swim team, Hayden enjoyed spending time at the outdoor pool regardless. He swam almost every day, if not multiple times per day. Sheila remembers many days where Hayden would be at the pool all afternoon, come home for dinner and then return for a last swim of the day.

Keeping Hayden active and involved in as many sports and activities as possible is a top priority for Sheila and Garfield, but it has also proven to be quite a financial challenge for the senior couple. Fortunately, there are many resources in the community to provide support for their family, including the YMCA Strong Kids campaign. The more Hayden swam, the more costly it became to purchase a day pass every time Hayden wanted to go for a swim. After learning more about the Strong Kids campaign, Sheila applied for financial assistance with the hopes they may be eligible for financial subsidy. Sheila’s application was approved and not only did Hayden receive a summer membership for the swimming pool, but the annual swim team fee was also covered.

Hayden will soon be 13 years old now, and he continues to enjoy many other activities in the community including, hockey, baseball, basketball, track and field and snowboarding. Thanks to the support from the YMCA Strong Kids campaign, other local community organizations and his great-grandparents, Hayden can look forward to a healthy future filled with love, support and play.

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