Limitless Possibilities

Mike Cramer suffered a massive stroke during a medical procedure on November 23, 2011. The prognosis was bleak. Neurologists at the Cleveland Clinic did not think he would survive. They said he wasn’t going to survive and if he did survive he was most likely going to be a quadriplegic, would be blind, unable to understand language, unable to talk and would be on a feeding tube and ventilator dependent the rest of his life. 

Knowing Mike wouldn’t want to live that way, the family pulled life support on December 5, 2011. Three hours later Mike squeezed his Dad’s hand. 

“Our lives changed. The future was so uncertain, but we gave it to God and put one foot in front of the other,” said Mandii Cramer. 

Today, Mike and Mandii are doing well. They were introduced to the Y through Summa Health’s One Month After Therapy program and now they exercise together at the Wadsworth YMCA three times a week. 

“We’ve both improved our strength and my clothes are getting looser which makes me feel good! Mike and I enjoy exercising together. It helps us stay connected,” continued Mandii. “We look forward to seeing our friends at the Y. Mike keeps them in stitches! It’s so nice to get out of the house and do something that’s both physically and emotionally good for us.” 

“Our Y membership is invaluable! We still put one foot in front of the other but now we’re optimistic about our future. Thanks to God and the Y, our possibilities are limitless!” 

Like Mike and Mandii, survey respondents from Akron Area YMCA healthy living programs report the following benefits:

97% experience improved physical health.
97% enjoy social interaction with staff and other participants.
97% reported their spirit, mind and body have been positively impacted.

Practicing Y Values is “Just Who He Is!”

Max Bigelow is like most nine-year olds when it comes to summer vacation. He came to Summer Day Camp expecting to make the most of his summer by doing fun things and meeting new friends. Max’s summer at the Wadsworth YMCA’s Summer Day Camp would come to mean so much more to him.

Max’s mother Jen has observed an impressive amount of growth and maturity in her son since attending camp. She noticed a “more respectful and caring attitude” within Max. The Day Camp counselors were positive role models. Max especially looked up to a counselor named Tate.

“Max carried over what the counselors had taught him and learned new ways to show respect for others,” said Jen. “He now thinks, what would Tate do?”

Still, it’s Max who holds the key to his personal growth.

“Max is a boy who excelled at our camp because he expects good things for himself. From the beginning, Max was holding doors for people, saying please and thank you, and making everyone feel welcome,” said Kristen Liggett, Wadsworth YMCA Program Director. “He put his positive attitude into action, and it showed he knew how to be honest, respectful and responsible.

Max thrives on helping others, just like the Y. His natural caring nature helped him put those Y core values into action and serve as a leader for his peers.

“Coming to Day Camp meant a lot to Max,” continued Jen. “He gained self-confidence and felt as if he was exactly where he was supposed to be — a place where he could make a small difference in the lives of his peers by being just who he is!”

Like Max, survey respondents from the Akron Area YMCA”s youth development programs reported the following impact:

96% developed the key values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.
96% developed leadership skills.
92% became more confident.

Shaping A Child, Building A Y, Strengthening A Community

Attorney Jim McIlvaine has lived in Wadsworth with his family for 40 years. Jim has always been involved in the Wadsworth community and has served on many non-profit boards. Many of the traits that have defined Jim as an adult, certainly his passion to serve, were developed at the Y during his childhood.
When he heard there were plans for a Y in Wadsworth he was thrilled!

Living in Tuscarawas County, Jim practically grew up at the Dover YMCA. “As a young boy, I spent many years in that Y, swimming, playing ball and participating in the Teen Leaders Club,” said Jim. “I have a soft spot in my heart for the Y because it shaped me as a youth. It was a place where I felt safe, connected and accepted.”

The Teen Leaders Club gave him confidence in his leadership skills and his success on th eY swim team helped him get into Muskingum College, where he was a swimmer. However, his days at the Y were far from over. As the honorary chairman for the Wadsworth Advisory Board, he brings to the position passion for the organization, leadership skills learned at Teen Leaders Club, and the belief in social responsibility taught to him at the Dover YMCA.

“I continue to live by the Y core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility,” Jim continued.

Jim was essential in recruiting key community leaders to the board, and through his leadership, the Advisory Board is strong and active. Having Jim McIlvaine behind the scenes, not only will the Wadsworth YMCA thrive, but so will the community because Jim is passionate about serving others.

Like Jim, Akron Area YMCA survey respondents reported the following impact:

97% developed the key values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.
89% developed at least one passionate interest.
96% developed leadership skills.

Do you have a story you'd like to share?
Click the button below and tell us how the Y has impacted you!

Tell Us
Your Story