Charesse Benjamin is a single parent who was at the end of her rope. She had split with her daughter’s father and moved from New Castle to Wilmington. Her daughter Cyani had begun to act out. “It was hard on Cyani with all those changes. She was lost and I didn’t know how to help her.”
As a parent in a new environment, Charesse didn’t know where to turn. She brought Cyani, then four years old, to the Child Center at the Walnut Street YMCA. It wasn’t an immediate fix, but both mother and child found a support system. Over the years, behavior issues kept Cyani from enjoying some of the activities of her peers, but the staff at the Walnut Street Y never gave up on Cyani or Charesse.
“Miss Melinda encouraged me as a parent, and they believed in Cyani.”
Eventually, something or someone broke through and Cyani started making big changes. Her behavior improved, she was able to participate in more activities, and she is thriving. Today Cyani, now nine years old, is proud to be captain of the Walnut Street YMCAs Essence Legacy Drill Team as they are preparing for competition.
“You wouldn’t recognize her as the same child. She changed so much going to the Y.”