Nataliya Kochubei with Daniel, her son.

Nataliya Kochubei with her son, Daniel.

When Nataliya Kochubei took one of the last planes out of war-torn Ukraine over two years ago, she didn’t know what awaited her and her family. And she certainly didn’t know the YMCA would be a great help.

“I was looking for children’s programs for my son, Daniel, an active seven-year-old. But everything was super expensive. Then I went to the Northwest YMCA, and they showed me around. The staff was so friendly, and helped us afford the Y,” shares Nataliya.

“Daniel has learned to speak English here, which is priceless. He was a shy boy, who has made friends now at the Y, and I have found so many community supports,” she adds.

Indeed, from our Open Doors financial assistance program to linking Nataliya and Daniel with local resources, we are delighted to help create a community for everyone.

Elisabeth (Lis) Auker, Program Supervisor for the Northwest Hillsborough Y, worked closely with Daniel and Nataliya to help them settle when they joined.

“I was so glad to help them. If it weren’t for the Y, I wouldn’t be able to make this kind of impact,” she said.

As for Daniel, who is in the second grade - he loves playing dodgeball, and spider ball (also a form of dodgeball) at the YMCA.

“We are so thankful to the Y. The staff is just amazing. Every time I meet someone new, I promote the YMCA,” enthuses Nataliya, who is also a full-time visual artist.

Thank you, Nataliya. We are delighted to help you find community.

Published Friday, March 1, 2024.