FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Inside the Parkview Family YMCA, Amy Luther spends a few nights a week caring for the kids in the Child Watch program. Luther has been a caregiver for 20 years, nearly the entire time the YMCA branch near DuPont road has been in existence.
Amy has made such an impact on the lives of kids, parents, and her colleagues that she was recently honored for her years of hard work. The Parkview Family YMCA shared a Facebook post of Amy holding a thank you card from her YMCA family.
“We just celebrated the building turning 20 years in January and we were like ‘wow this is really cool,’ but then you think of someone spending 20 years and giving to that building, or to that program or to that idea, it’s just unreal,” said Amanda Munger, the youth and family director.
“I walk in the door and everybody knows my name,” said Luther. “I don’t know everyone else’s name, but they know me.”
Luther calls herself “the grandma of the group.” She thinks of the YMCA branch as her second home and says going to work every day doesn’t feel like work. Instead, it feels like family.
“I greet the kids, I greet the parents too,” Luther said with a smile. “I make sure the children are taken care of, we clean a lot of toys, just spend time with them and make sure they have a good day.”
Amanda Munger describes Luther as someone who is kind, positive, and will help anyone who needs it. Plus, as a mother and grandmother herself, Luther is great with the kids. Most of the children she watches range in age from 6 months to 10 years old.
“You can see it superficially when she’s working with the kids. She knows their names, she knows what’s going on, she’s like hey how was your dance recital over the weekend? She has those relationships with them,” said Munger.
Whether it’s a few minutes playing a game, or a few hours chatting with the kids, Amy leads by example and hopes to leave a lasting impact.
“If I see someone by themselves I’ll play a game with them, and if someone is by themselves I’ll encourage another little child, I’ll say “that little child is crying, maybe you can introduce them or play with them as well,’ because I don’t want anyone to play by themselves,” said Luther. “We don’t know what kind of day they’ve had or where they came from, maybe they had a bad day at school, so we really try to give them a positive time when they’re here with us.”
As Amy nurtures positive relationships inside the Child Watch walls, it’s parents and kids from the past who are also proving what she means to the program.
“If you looked at the Facebook page, people were commenting about their kids who were here 10 years ago and that was an impact that they remembered that and the great care she gave to their kids, that was really cool to see,” said Munger.
Luther says she plans to stay with the Child Watch program as long as they’ll keep her, and Munger says Luther is welcome to stay as long as she wants.
“I enjoy coming here and I hope they do too,” said Luther.
If you’d like to learn more about the Child Watch program, you can go to the Parkview YMCA website.