Happy August. Some kids are back to school. Others are starting in the next couple of days and weeks. Fall is fast approaching.

This week we celebrated the first graduating class of our Four Year Old Early Learning Program, a partnership between the YMCA, West Fargo Public Schools, and the United Way. 40 children, the majority from low income households, received their certificates as they head off to Kindergarten next week. This is a big deal. During the year, the children played, worked on letter recognition skills, completed science projects (I even saw a pet lizard while I was touring the rooms), and worked on basic skills like lining up, waiting your turn, and participating as a group.

The change from the start of the year to the end of the year is amazing. The kids grow physically, almost a head taller than when they started. They grow mentally, the skills listed above are just a few. They grow spiritually, figuring out that they are part of a community that cares that they are successful, with a few hugs from the teachers along the way!

Like all preschool graduations that you attend, they are crammed with proud parents and grandparents. In today’s world, everyone has their cell phone out and are snapping pictures and taking video. It is a celebration and the kids feel great. Another way that their spirit is strengthened.

One of the most important relationships in that room is between a mother and her children. Moms are there for us when we are down. They are there for us when we celebrate. Moms are the glue that hold a family together and keep us moving forward. I am blessed to have a mom like that. I am blessed to be married to a strong mom of my children. What I saw this week was a room full of strong moms supporting the success of their children.

As I was waiting for the program to begin, our Program Director, Ann, welcomed her mom who came to see the graduation. Talk about a mom who comes out for things to support her children! Doesn’t matter that her child is a grown woman with children of her own. Moms are there for us!

Thanks to all the moms who make us successful, guide us when we need it, provide a hug when it is most needed, and a positive push to the future. And thanks to all the moms who just show up!

Congratulations to our graduating kids and we look forward to your success in the years to come.

Steve Smith, President