From the age of four, the ‘Community Y’ on Gottingen Street has been a huge part of Heavyn Beals’ life. Her family connections to the YMCA run deep ―she started out playing on a Little Dribblers basketball team, coached by her dad.

More than a decade later, Heavyn plays on the midget-level Panthers team and can often be found shooting hoops at the Community Y. In addition to practicing her skills on the courts, Heavyn has also participated in many of the Community YMCA programs for children and youth, including Kids in the Kitchen, the after school program and Junior Leaders. “The YMCA feels like home to me,” she says. “It’s great to have a safe place to come to and hang out.”

Heavyn says that the Junior Leaders program in particular has had a big influence on her life. As part of the program she has been given opportunities to volunteer with younger kids and work on career planning, which have both inspired her future plans. “I want to be a child psychologist”, says Heavy. “I love working with kids. I want to know what their problems are and help them through it.”