For Nitara Holley, the Y’s compassion and empathy came exactly when she needed it most.

With two kids in tow, Nitara left her home because her partner was struggling with a new addiction. The situation was traumatic—leaving Nitara in emotional shock with maxed out credit cards and an infant and first grader.

She couldn’t support her children by herself without a full-time job and she couldn’t work more hours without care for her 7-year-old during the summer.

Armed with financial paperwork, Nitara stepped into the Eugene Family YMCA to plead her case for a summer camp discount.

“I sat down and I started to cry,” she said. “I just kind of lost it. The women working the desk were just so sweet with me and they handed me back my financial information.”

A Y staff member told Nitara, “We have this covered.”

Calliope spent the summer at Y day camps—making friends, swimming, painting and learning new skills. The hours she spent in camp allowed her to forget the distress at home.

“I stayed with my mom for a month,” Nitara said. “There were 3 of us in a tiny bedroom, but I would have been living out of a U-Haul if I didn’t have family.”

With Calliope safely in camp, Nitara secured a full-time job, daycare for her youngest and, in June, an apartment. It was Calliope’s safety, care and enrichment, plus financial assistance, that helped Nitara to focus on her priorities.

“I was trying so hard to distract her from what was going on without negating the fact that she lost her dad,” Nitara said. “She was able to do something all summer that kept her mind off of it.”

When summer ended, the Y offered Calliope a place in the new afterschool program at Buena Vista Elementary School. It is Calliope’s favorite part of the day.

“She is really into gymnastics right now and they let her bounce around,” she said. “At some point she’s taught herself how to do one-handed and no-handed cartwheels and she practices that there. She’s even learned she can do box jumps!”

Nitara is eternally grateful for the support she received to help her through an emergency situation.

“When I think back to that stressful point, it was crucial that the YMCA stepped up to help us,” she said. “Plus, the Y treated me with respect and understanding.”

Nitara is one of hundreds of people in the Eugene-Springfield area to receive support and care from your Y. More than $433,000 a year is offered in financial assistance for those in acute stress or dealing with low or no income. Offered with warmth and kindness, financial assistance is a critical element of the Y’s dedication to helping our neighbors and strengthening our diverse community.