Editor’s Note: We are proud sponsors of That’s What She Said, which will grace the stage at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on July 19 (tickets still available!). The event is all about women exchanging stories – kind of like what we do with Chambana mom to know each week. This week’s mom to know will receive two complimentary tickets to That’s What She Said. We have a few more to give away – surprise a friend and nominate her to be a Chambana mom to know, she could get free tickets too. But HURRY!
Stacie Young is Larkin’s Place Program Director at the Stephens Family YMCA in Champaign. Stacie received a Bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master’s degree in Health Science from the University of Indianapolis. Passionate about youth sports – especially getting girls involved and supporting them through the journey – she organizes girls basketball and softball programs. Stacie is married to Dave Young and has two children, Sarah 13 and Ben 11 and a dog, Mo.
See why we think Stacie is a Chambana mom to know.
Q: From your perspective, what has been the impact of Larkin’s Place in the Champaign-Urbana community?
A: Larkin’s Place gives people hope. We not only offer opportunities for a variety of people but we model progressive thinking. Respect and acceptance for all. No limits. It’s a simple mission. This philosophy was pioneered by a local mom, Amy Armstrong, who envisioned a place in the community for people of all abilities. I have the pleasure of programming this cutting edge model.
Q: Who does LP serve, and what kind of services does it provide?
A: Larkin’s Place serves anyone at the Y that may need some type of accommodation to use our facility or participate in our programs. From providing noise reducing headphones to members on the walking track to specialty camps for children with delayed motor skills. We are here to serve everyone at the Y. Larkin’s Place is not a physical area in the Y but a philosophy. It permeates our building and influenced the layout and construction of our building. In addition to this, Larkin’s Place has specific programs tailored to benefit members with disabilities. Some sample programs are: music therapy, playgroups, LP Parent Network, LP Parent Educational series, handwriting groups, social groups and teenage Friday night groups.
Q: What is inclusion and how can we be mindful of it in our daily lives, teaching our “typical” children as well?
A: Inclusion is acknowledging everyone has value in our community. The best way to model it to “typical” children is to show respect to those who may be “different.” Respect is not just being kind to others but it is treating others as you would want to be treated. Every human plays a specific role in this game of life. My favorite part of the inclusive environment at the Y is watching our staff embrace members with special needs and realize their strengths when working with this population. We have amazing staff members who love the Y and go above and beyond for our members.
Q: What is an occupational therapist and why did you become one?
A: Occupational therapy (OT) is an applied science and health care profession that uses skilled treatment to help people achieve and maintain independence in all facets of their lives. OTs use meaningful activities when working with clients to help them achieve their life goals. Before college, I was interested in social work and then physical therapy. I discovered occupational therapy and it was the perfect mix of both professions. I love my work and have never regretted choosing this profession. I love getting to know people and motivating them to heal. I am always up for a good challenge.
Q: Who is your role model and why?
A: I’ve had so many mentors! My role models would be my parents. My mother taught us to be kind to others. She modeled inclusion to our family at a young age. She was a room mother in elementary school and always was drawn to help children who needed extra support. She doesn’t know a stranger and always had time to listen to people’s stories. My father has a strong work ethic and is very wise. He taught me to “keep my chin up” no matter what happens and to keep moving forward. Both of parents know who they are and never pretend to be anyone else. That is the greatest life lesson.
Q: Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
A: I live by prayer. I am in a constant conversation with God. I gave up control over my life years ago and accepted that I needed to trust in Him. This was the most freeing decision I ever made.
Q: What does your ideal weekend in Champaign-Urbana look like?
A: An ideal weekend would be with my family outdoors. Nature resets me. My husband and kids ground me and we just like to be together. It doesn’t matter what we do or where we are. My kids crack me up and there is always some type of joke around our house. We adore our dog, Mo, and often sit around and just talk about how cute and perfect he is.
Don’t forget – surprise a friend and nominate her to be a Chambana mom to know, she could get free tickets to That’s What She Said!