Irene, from Kenya, arrived in Eugene with her two sons in 2014. As a doctoral student and graduate teaching assistant in the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, Irene’s workload is significant, especially as an international student raising two children on her own. In her unique situation, Irene found the Y as a welcoming space within which she could be an outstanding parent and student.
As a graduate student, parenting comes with unique challenges. Ours is a house of international students, so we have to make Eugene our home away from home. Both of my boys enjoy the Y, my youngest through the afterschool program and my oldest is always doing workouts and playing basketball games there. During summer, they frequent the pool and enjoy the summer programs with their friends.
In the last academic year, having my youngest at the Y after school care eased my load profoundly. I was able to complete my comprehensive exams, oral defense and dissertation proposal defense. Any graduate student will tell you this is a period of intense studying that requires focus and determination.
As members of the Y, we have become part and parcel of a community. The best part is that I am at peace knowing my boys are in safe hands, as they enjoy the programs offered at the Y. The Y has been a blessing to us in more ways than one.