In 2013, Ravinder Maan was in a bad car accident. She had herniated a disk in her back and, coupled with feelings of loneliness and depression, she faced a difficult road to recovery ahead. Dedicated to getting better, Ravinder signed up at a local rec centre to work on her mobility. However, she struggled at the facility, where the surroundings were bare and she had few interactions. “I left feeling lonelier than when I got there,” she said, as her social isolation was getting worse post-accident.
Two years ago, Ravinder decided it was time to try a new facility and came to the Tong Louie Family YMCA. Soon after, she started feeling like she “belongs at the YMCA” and the connections she made helped her feel less alone. She knew she had found the right place to continue her recovery.
When her doctor recommended water therapy to support her progress, Ravinder was nervous. She had a serious fear of water but, because of her deep dedication to her improvement and the safety she felt at the YMCA, she decided to explore the possibility of going in the pool.
She started by watching Jesse, one of the aquatics staff at Tong Louie, to see how he interacted with other members around the pool. She watched as he acknowledged and engaged with members of all ages and when she decided to face her fears, Jesse “went above and beyond” to help her feel at ease.
Now, as a regular participant in Aquafit classes, Ravinder says that Jesse and the staff encourage her before, during and after the class, and are always there to pick up her spirits when she’s feeling down. Ravinder’s daughter has also started coming to the Y after her mother shared the sense of belonging she feels there. Ravinder says that her daughter “loves the feeling of community she gets from the Y”, just like her mother.