YMCA ball provides 'an unusual evening in Los Alamos'

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By Kirsten Laskey

After experiencing several problems in a YMCA program, Maria Wolfe decided to pull her son Sam, who has Asperger Syndrome, out of the program. It was too much for him, decided Wolfe, who serves as treasurer of the Family YMCA board of directors.However, a call from Ben Sandoval, Espanola Teen Center director, changed her mind. Wolfe recalled Sandoval asking her what the YMCA could do to help Sam and, and Sandoval saying, “There are no bad kids.” After a number of meetings and program leaders gaining an understanding of Sam’s situation, Sam’s experience at the YMCA began to change. “He was having fun,” Wolfe said. “For me, that meant a lot.” She added there is nothing worse than not getting children what they need and nothing better than meeting their needs. At the Red and Black Ball, held Saturday at Central Avenue Grill, corporate sponsors, business owners and community members kicked off a fundraising campaign to ensure the organization continues to help young people. It appears things got off to a good start; about $55,000 was raised during the ball, Linda Daly, executive director of the YMCA, told the Monitor Tuesday. “It went wonderfully,” she said.

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