Growing Stronger Together

EDWMeet Erin and Willis

Seven-year-old Willis Terry is a true Y Kid. The Y is where he was first introduced to sports such as soccer and basketball. It’s where he and his Grandpa have made memories swimming in the pool. It’s the place that provides him with before and after school care each day.

“Based on the experiences that we’ve had at the YMCA, I would suggest it to anybody,” said Erin Davis, Willis’ mother. “For me, the biggest benefit has been the sense of security. The Y has the best child care that’s been offered to me. It works around your schedule and around your income. They understand that life happens.”

With the assistance of the Y’s scholarship program, Erin is able to send Willis to Kidz Zone at Walkers Grove Elementary School. A single parent, Erin works full-time as a restaurant manager, while also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business management and human resources.

Because of the Y’s Kidz Zone programs, Erin can go to work each day knowing that Willis is in good hands. When she attends classes at night, she can rest assured that Willis has completed his schoolwork.

Erin credits the Y as a big part of Willis’ growth over the years. When he first came to the Y, Willis was typically pretty shy. Now, Erin says, Willis’ confidence and social skills are greatly improved.

“Compared to other care places, the YMCA has values to make sure that you see your child grow,” Erin said. “I don’t see the Y being out of our lives anytime soon. We’re going to be here a while.”

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, the Greater Joliet Area YMCA provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship funds to those in need of financial assistance. To learn more about our People Helping People Scholarship Program, please contact your local branch.


Erin’s and Willis’ story will be featured in our 2016 Winter/Spring Program Guide, which is now available online.

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