Thrive Center at South Meridian YMCA offers inclusive activities

Meridian, Idaho — The THRIVE Center at the Tomlinson South Meridian YMCA is a place for everyone. The Center aims to create an inclusive space for all people, including those with neurodiverse and various ability statuses.

Once a month they offer a program called FIREFLIES. This program offers his 3-hour camp to participants who need one-on-one care. A few volunteers from the community allow the center to personally care for each participant.FIREFLIES doubles as respite care for participants’ parents and caregivers.

The Center, now several years old, was born in response to community input. From the time I entered the YMCA, I wanted to create a space that considered inclusion.

Tomlinson South Meridian YMCA Executive Director Mike Kapusinski said: You don’t need to do anything special because you’ve already thought about it. ”

Jill Petty’s daughter participates in the FIREFLIES program. As her parent, Petty was originally nervous about leaving her daughter alone. But after Petty saw her daughter having fun and her expertise as a FIREFLIES volunteer, her concerns were allayed. Petty now loves the program and what it means for her daughter.

“I know they love her and I’m thrilled to meet her,” Petty said. As a parent, it doesn’t get much better than this. ”

There are benefits beyond the YMCA. Aaron Elton, whose son is in the program, says families participating in the program become part of the community.

“I have a connection with another parent with special needs. I don’t have to explain. I just know. Okay. Okay. Let our kids play.” ”

Kapuscinski says it’s important to remember. Financial assistance is always available.

For information on how to participate, please visit the THRIVE website.

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