Zain's Story: Finding Solace at the YMCA and CPLF

We are honoured to share the inspiring story of Zain, a valued member of our community who has found an incredible source of support, community, and belonging within the walls of the YMCA. Zain's story is a testament to resilience and the transformative power of inclusive environments.

Picture of Published March 12, 2024

Published March 12, 2024

Zain, The YMCA and CPLF

Meet Zain and Kenneth

Living with autism, Zain’s journey has been marked by unique challenges, but within the welcoming embrace of the YMCA, he has discovered a place where he can truly thrive. With unwavering commitment, Zain visits the YMCA multiple times a week, immersing himself in their programs. He also volunteers as a weight floor cleaner at his home location in Saddletowne, Calgary.

Kenneth, Zain’s devoted Support Worker from Calgary Progressive Lifestyles Foundation, has been by Zain’s side for more than two and a half years. Together, they made it their mission to find activities and places that would enrich Zain’s life and help him contribute to the community in a meaningful and fun way. During their search, they discovered the YMCA where they found a welcoming community.

The Y is more than just a rec centre to Zain – it’s a place where he feels happiness, a sense of belonging, and joyfully connects with others who have disabilities and share the same ethnicity. From using the weight floor to admiring swimmers’ skills in the pool, Zain’s enthusiasm is a sight to see. Volunteering at the YMCA has been transformative for Zain and Kenneth. Initially challenged by 10 minute tasks, Zain has gained confidence in his role and now volunteers for an hour on the weight floor every week. His amazing progress has made his parents incredibly proud; their hearts burst with joy from seeing his growth and contribution to his community.

From Kenneth and Zain’s perspective, the YMCA is an environment that is free of discrimination and very accommodating where people are always willing to support each other. As Kenneth reflects on Zain’s journey, he expresses how grateful he is for the Y – “a place where kindness knows no bounds, and everyone is welcome with open arms” the YMCA highlights in their article.

Zain’s story reminds us of the power of community, compassion, and inclusion which we strive to encourage each and every day. We’re proud to be a part of Zain’s life and see that through the unwavering support of the YMCA, Zain has not only found a place to belong but has also discovered a sense of purpose.

Helpful Resources

Volunteer at the YMCA: Calgary YMCA

Read the YMCA’s article: Y Story – Zain & Kenneth

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