Impact Story Feb. 2018


February, 2018 • MASSILLON FAMILY YMCA  Impact Story: Bryan Watkins

Bryan Watkins is a beloved friend and participant of the Massillon Family YMCA. Nearing his 17th year as a member, he first joined with his grandfather. They enjoyed spending time together exercising in the fitness center up until his passing. Bryan has carried on the tradition though by continuing his attendance at the Y each week.

After Bryan was born, he had several incidences before the age of 3 where he had stopped breathing. This resulted in serious health complications that left lasting effects. Doctors at the time advised that he become admitted to a home for the mentally handicapped because it was likely he would never recover. 

However, his mother, JoAnn wanted more for her son. “She never gave up on him even when the doctors did,” Donna Nash (Welcome Center) explains. Through guided support, JoAnn scheduled a meeting with the Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Bryan was enrolled at the age of 3 and has flourished there ever since.

He currently serves as member of the MRDD Grounds Keeping Program during the summer months in addition to offering mowing services to others in the area. And Bryan doesn’t slow down in the off season. During the winter months, he’s busy with snow removal.

Always staying on-the-go, Bryan can be found regularly in the Massillon Family Y bouncing between the fitness center and lobby where he chats with his friend Donna and others passing by.

He’s a well-known member of the Y. Many greet Bryan warmly as they pass in and out of the building. He offers a, “Hi” in return and a pleasant reminder to others of what the YMCA is all about.

It’s a place where everyone is welcome and people can come together under the same roof. It’s where the word, ‘community’ lives.

It’s also where opportunities are offered to all, regardless of ability to pay. Individuals such as Bryan, can receive scholarships because of the faithful support that members, employees and community partners offer to our YMCA.

The Y is unlike any other gym membership; it’s the heartbeat of the city. It’s where individuals and families from all walks of life come together in pursuit of becoming better than they were yesterday. It’s where Bryan enjoys spending his time each week. And most importantly, it’s a place of belonging.

So in Christ we, though many, form one body,

and each member belongs to all of others.

Romans 12:5

3 people arms on sholders



Written by Kaitlyn Meister


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