Thomas and His Mom at YM&YWHA

Helping Thomas Thrive and Pursue Joy

Meet Thomas W. He’s seven years old. He’s a natural storyteller, has endless enthusiasm, and is very empathetic, seeking to encourage and comfort everyone around him. His greatest love is trains — watching them, planning train lines, playing train video games — anything and everything trains. He has a rich imagination and loves to play outside.

Thomas also has an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Thanks to the Y’s Sunday Funday — a social and recreational program for children ages 5-16 with Autism Spectrum Disorders — Thomas was inspired to try new activities, which he previously rejected, and his self-confidence increased. He also honed his cooperative skills, which improved playtime with his younger sister.

Here at the Y, we constantly strive to build a more accessible and accepting environment, like in inclusive programs Thomas enjoys in addition to Sunday Funday — the Y’s Be Me After-School Program and Camp Twelve Trails.

Sunday Funday provides opportunities for children to learn and practice key social skills while participating in a variety of engaging activities together. According to Thomas’ mother, “The foundation of Sunday Funday really reflects that these children are unique and amazing in their own ways and connects with each of them on an individual level to help them find their own joy, in both expected and unexpected places.” She looks forward to Thomas continuing to pursue joy throughout his life.

Continuing services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and youth with all abilities is so important that a group of donors is matching contributions up to $5,000 through Friday, June 24.

Make a gift today to help the Y enhance lives every day. Thanks to our generous donors and funders, we can provide critical services and programs to our neighbors. We sincerely appreciate any amount you are able to give.

About the Y
Established in 1917, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (the Y) is Northern Manhattan’s premier Jewish community center — serving an ethnically and socio-economically diverse constituency — improving the quality of life for people of all ages through critical social services and innovative programs in health, wellness, education, and social justice, while promoting diversity and inclusion, and caring for those in need.

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