Adaptive Services

The Adaptive Services Program serves many people within our community.  People travel from as far north as Lisbon and as far south as Kennebunk to take part in our program at the Casco Bay Branch of the YMCA of Southern Maine.


Community Impact

What started 12 years ago as a way to provide extra support to Y members who needed it, has grown into a vital and profoundly supportive program in the community. The outcomes of this program include, but are truly not limited to:

• Health & Well-Being
• Self-sufficiency & Independence
• Socialization & Integration
• Relationship Building & Peer Support
• Awareness & Acceptance
• Family Support
• Advocacy


See the impact our Adaptive Services Program has through a short video.




Individual Impact

As Y staff work with those living with illnesses, injuries, and disabilities, the outcomes are inspiring. Members who have come to the Y confined to a wheel chair are walking again. Those with degenerative conditions are able to maintain their strength. Other who were isolated are able to socialize and benefit from valuable peer support.


Family Impact

The Y supports the entire community, including everyone regardless of their physical or developmental abilities. This inclusive community also includes the families of those with disabilities. Adaptive Services at the Y serves the family in a way that, according to involved families, "has not been there before."

There is respite for caregivers while their loved ones are at the Y, providing them time to focus on their own health and well-being. There is also peace of mind as participants who gain strength and independence here at the Y are also now more independent at home.


Challenges and Opportunities

As the only program of its kind in the area, providing such breadth in programming for such a wide spectrum of participants (all regardless of their ability to pay), interest in Adaptive Services at the Y has surpassed the program's capacity.

There is a constant waiting list for individual work, and staff are unable to accommodate all of the requests for new programming, such as adaptive aquatics for local schools and group programs for those living with chronic illness.

In looking to meet the community demand for continued program growth and development, the greatest need is for additional staff to be able to serve more people.

One additional part-time staff member would enable the Y to accommodate 7 to 10 additional people coming to the Y twice a week. A goal of meeting this need has spurred an increased fundraising effort to move beyond sustaining and into growing Adaptive Services at the Y.


Impact Story

Patsy hasn't always been a member of the Y. "I used to walk three miles every day. I never came to the Y." Then the unexpected happened. "Everyone said they were so surprised I had a stroke because I was a picture of health... but I found out I had a hole in my heart that was letting clots through. I had three strokes and they set me back quite a bit. They took out my whole left side."

Patsy's doctors told her she wouldn't be able to walk again. Then, "at rehab.. I reached a plateau and Medicare wouldn't let me go anymore." After asking, "where am I going to go now?" she came to the Y.

The Y staff "kept encouraging me to come back, and my legs got stronger. They told me that by the end of the summer I'd be able to walk.. and I didn't believe that. But sure enough, I did! It gave me a lot of confidence to keep going."

Patsy tells her story as she proudly shows how she can now lift her leg. This is a new thing. "It seems like a small accomplishment, but it's a big one for me."


Program Details

Adaptive Services help participants improve or regain quality of life by developing their bodies through specialized exercise, and their self-esteem through personal relationships with peers, friends, and support staff.

A current snapshot of Adaptive Services:

• 41 people one-on-one or in small groups
• 20 people served in adaptive aquatics
• 45 hours per week of direct service
• 10 plus referring and partnering agencies
• With a zero barrier approach, services are offered at no cost to participants
• The program benefits from the invaluable support of volunteers, including 40 hours per month in transporting participants to and from the Y
• A constant waiting list

Adaptive Services isn't only about the physical benefits, or even the psychological benefits of boosting self-confidence in the face of greater independence. It is also an encouraging network of support within the Y.


Adaptive Services Auction

Each year we hold an Adaptive Services Auction which raises money for our program at the Y.  The auction includes a silent and live auction, hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine bar, a 50/50 raffle, and much more!  It's an evening of fun for a great cause!  This year's 12th Annual Auction was held on Wednesday, April 2nd at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport. Check back often to see next year's event date announced! You can also check out our Auction Event page for more information, to purchase tickets, and to see an updated list of auction items (updated weekly leading up to the auction!).