Shaylee's Story: The life-changing impact of YMCA Donors

Shaylee's story for the 2021 Summer Campaign

Photo of a young woman in a YMCA Child Care centre.

My name is Shaylee Denchuk, and I recently started working at the YMCA Norwood Child Care centre as an Educator. This June, I want to share my story of how YMCA of Northern Alberta changed my life, and how the Y can make a difference in the lives of families, children and individuals in communities across Alberta. Because of the generous support of donors like you, my children and I have been given opportunities that otherwise would never have been possible.

I first got involved at the Y when my children began attending YMCA Castle Downs Child Care, and I got to know some of the awesome staff who worked with my kids. As a parent, I found peace of mind knowing my children were safe and receiving premium care, and watching how much my children enjoyed the Y and connecting with other children. Then, a lot of changes happened in our lives all at once. I was no longer able to access government income assistance and I soon found myself in need of affordable child care, a job and, most importantly, support. My situation became very stressful during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I wasn’t sure what I would do. I needed help.

After speaking with a YMCA Family Support Worker about my challenges, she and the  YMCA Child Care Program Manager where my children attended came to me with an offer to work at the YMCA, and for my children to continue to receive care. They gave me the opportunity that my family and I needed, and I accepted.

The YMCA gave me opportunities like work, finding nearby housing and support with my security deposit, and more. The Family Support Worker even helped me with things you wouldn’t expect, like buying diapers and getting financial support. If the YMCA staff hadn’t taken the time to build a personal relationship with me and my children, my family would not be where we are now. I wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to work at YMCA Norwood Child Care, and I wouldn’t have been able to come up with a deposit for an apartment attached to the centre where we now live.

If I had not found opportunity at the YMCA, my family would be in a much different situation than we are now. Without the support of YMCA staff, members, and donors, I wouldn’t be able to pursue my education to become a Level II Child Care Educator and my daughters wouldn’t have the opportunity to attend YMCA Child Care.

Whether you’ve donated to the YMCA in the past or you have yet to donate, I can tell you that there are many children and families like mine who need access to affordable, quality child care and family support. That’s exactly what your gift can provide for families like mine and children like my daughters. I know firsthand that generous gifts to the Y lead to child care and family services that ensure families are safe and supported. This month, I am asking for your support. Your donation will help give families like mine the opportunities they need to thrive.

As an added bonus, this June, your gift to YMCA of Northern Alberta will have double the impact. Thanks to EPCOR, through the Heart + Soul Fund, all funds raised until June 30th  will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $15,000. Please donate today and give families in your community the opportunity they need to thrive. 

From my daughters and me, thank you for supporting the YMCA!

Shaylee Signature

Shaylee Denchuk
YMCA Norwood Child Care


The Heart + Soul Fund by EPCOR was created to support organizations that bring joy to our community and provide a lifeline to those in need. Learn more at heartandsoulfund.

YMCA of Northern Alberta, EPCOR