120 Years, 120 Stories: Mary’s Story
Student discovered a love of reading at the YWCA
Mary’s parents enrolled her in the YWCA’s Children’s Center before she was born. They chose the YWCA of Minneapolis because of our reputation for providing high-quality, culturally celebratory early childhood education.
I attended the YWCA from December 1995, when I was three months old, until the summer of 2006, when I was ten years old. Some of my oldest memories are of being in the Dinosaur room (age 2) playing play-dough and having fun all day. My strongest memories from the YWCA are going on field trips, playing games, and learning in the Starfish (age 3.5-5) and Garden (age 5-6) rooms.
Growing up in an environment that emphasized critical thinking, problem solving, and acquiring knowledge has certainly had a positive influence on both my schoolwork and my attitude towards my education. Science, particularly biology, is my favorite subject in school and I’m planning on being an emergency room doctor, surgeon, or anthropologist when I grow up.
Social justice, racism, international civil rights violations, religious pluralism, and marriage rights are some of the big issues I care about and try to make change in. Many of these topics stemmed from the belief that everyone should be treated the same way regardless of their differences that was instilled in me from a young age at the YWCA. At Minneapolis South High School, I am active in groups that work towards these goals.
Mary’s father remains very impressed with the strong start Mary received at the YWCA.
At every stage, even in the infant room, the Center’s program placed Mary in an intellectually stimulating environment. Mary always loved books, and her teachers encouraged her to look at books early and often. Most importantly, her teachers recognized her unique intellectual development and responded to it. Mary’s Starfish Room teacher would allow her to stay awake during nap time and work one-one with Mary with elementary-level reading books. After pre-school and Kindergarten at the YWCA, she started first grade with a strong foundation.