Even though she’s only responsible for one of them, just about every kid in the neighborhood calls Anita “Grandma.” It’s a role she takes willingly, helping to make sure the kids at the Richard Allen Apartments stay out of trouble and are being safe.
This past summer, her granddaughter Arianna and others from the area were able to participate in the Safety Around Water program at the YMCA. The free lessons help introduce children to the water and prepare them for possible emergencies while at a pool, lake or other body of water. “Children feel safer when they know how to do something, especially around water.” Anita also says the program being free makes it possible for certain families to participate who may not have had the opportunity otherwise. “It’s sad for me to see children on the sidelines that can’t afford things.”
In addition to water safety, the children she looks over were able to receive free lunches and snacks all summer long thanks to the YMCA Summer Meals Program. “Arianna gets really excited about the food, she gets to hang out with other kids and her friends, and I get to sit back and see how she just glows from all of this,” Anita said. She also pointed out that not only her granddaughter but other children get more of a benefit from the food than a full stomach, they get social interaction and something to look forward to every day, “the kids start talking and eating, and they’re just happier.”
Anita said the YMCA has been a huge help in the neighborhood, particularly during the summer months to keep the children safe, fed and engaging in healthy activities. “Parents go through tough times, when you have someone helping you it’s always a good thing, it’s a blessing.”