The Idrees Family

“I was worried it would be extremely expensive, but that’s the great thing about the YMCA; everyone can have access”

Angela Avery2

Every parent wants to be the hero now and then. Every parent wants to put a huge smile on the face of their child by granting them a sought-after wish. When his youngest daughter Grace pleaded to go to Camp Chief Hector YMCA, Muhammad Idrees made it happen thanks to his love, persistence and financial support from the YMCA Calgary.

“Grace was so excited and she was counting down the days.”

When the time finally came to send her off to Camp, Idrees and his wife asked their 11-year-old if they should call or visit. They were surprised when she said no.

“I thought she’d be scared to be away from home, but she was so happy and confident.”

Idrees says Grace got that confidence through her involvement in other YMCA Calgary programs over the years. He believes the same is true of her two older sisters, one of which is working as a YMCA Calgary lifeguard while attending university.

Idrees says even he and his wife are more outgoing and positive thanks to the Y. Being part of the YMCA community has made their whole family stronger.  The couple moved to Calgary from Pakistan 14 years ago and like many new immigrants, they were feeling uneasy and not fully integrated into their new country and community. Then a doctor recommended Idrees try using the pool at the Y to ease a back injury.

“I was worried it would be extremely expensive, but that’s the great thing about the YMCA, everyone can have access.”

Idrees got a membership back in 2004, his wife got a job babysitting at YMCA Calgary, and the pair was suddenly involved into a welcoming community. Language classes, swimming lessons, badminton games and many more activities followed. Canada was once a very foreign place for the Idrees family that seemed scary and confusing, but YMCA Calgary reached out a helping hand to this family and enabled them to thrive and grow to their full potential.

“My wish is for more people to be able to experience all of the great things the Y has to offer, so I’m really happy that they are building these new YMCAs”