It was an exciting weekend for members of the Anaheim Family YMCA as toddlers, kids and teens presented the talents and skills they learned this summer in front of their families and friends.
On Saturday, the YMCA kicked off the weekend with its annual Summer Sportacular Showcase. There were more than 200 participants and the performances included: gymnastics, karate, ballet, tap and hip hop dances. But the main highlight of event was the moment instructors awarded every child with a gold medal.
The gold medal not only represents their accomplishments in the program, but their demonstration of good character: honesty, caring, respect and responsibility.
Jazmin Sheikh, 9, proudly displayed her gold medal to the crowd after her gymnastics floor routine. “I earned my gold medal because I proved to my friends, family and coach that I can do anything if I believe in myself.”
And Jazmin did prove herself because her father could not have been prouder at the end of the day.
“This program will play a big part in Jazmin’s life and her future,” said Muzamil Sheikh. “She is confident, happy and has finally found something that she is really good at.”
The proud moments and festivities continued on Sunday when 18 teens celebrated their graduation from the inaugural Youth Institute technology program.
This event was also the first time the students would premiere their short-films, the final and most difficult project of the summer. But before the show began, each student shared their experience and what they valued most about the program.
“This was more than just technology,” said 13-year-old Maya Weaver. “We all come from different places but when we accept each other for who we are and are happy with ourselves we can be a part of something bigger.”
By working together as a team, these students were able to share inspiring stories through their films. Those stories reflected their personal experiences on how they overcame their struggles with self-esteem, friendships, school and fears.
“It’s great to see families come together and share these moments,” said Paul Andresen, president and CEO of the Anaheim Family YMCA. “Parents were amazed by how incredibly talented their kids are and I am honored to say that this weekend was truly marked by greatness. Our kids inspired us all once again.”