YMCA Healthy Kids® Day

Meet Jacob Thater

The Y changes lives — i'm proof!

Jacob Thater is relatively new to San Diego and, while it hasn’t been easy, he’s made it his home and taken advantage of all the opportunities that have come his way.

After a fire wiped out their home in Seattle, Jacob and his mother moved here to San Diego. Jacob enrolled at Mark Twain High School and worked summers at San Diego Ice Arena, where he was introduced to Mission Valley YMCA via the summer day camps that visited the ice-skating facility.

During his senior year at Twain, student adviser Mr. Feinberg asked Jacob if he’d be interested in participating in YMCA Youth & Government, a statewide program that introduces high school students to the mechanics of government. In addition to learning about policy-making and the law, the program culminates in a conference of the 2,000+ statewide delegates in Sacramento. Although Jacob was interested in Youth & Government, his mother has been unemployed for years, and his family couldn’t afford the cost of the program. Thanks to the Y’s fund-raising efforts, there are a limited number of full scholarships available, and Jacob was recommended for one. The rest, as they say, is history.

Not only did Jacob participate in Youth & Government, he excelled and was one of the leaders of the San Diego "Super Delegation" in Sacramento. Also, he was awarded a scholarship to participate in the Y’s SAT Prep Course. Then, he graduated as valedictorian from Twain High School.

And that’s only the beginning. Jacob works part-time for PRYDE, the Y's after-school gang/drug prevention program. He is a full-time student at UCSD, and is poised to be the first in his family to graduate from college. — posted 1/5/12

"Forget day care and workout machines; the Y changes lives and I’m proof of that."