Bristol, Tenn. natives Rhonda and Bill Holland say the Bristol YWCA have been a godsend for not only them, but their twenty-one month old granddaughter, Lexie as well.

The Holland’s known to Lexie Paw-Paw and Mee-Mee to Lexie, have had custody of her since she was 5 months old.

Soon after getting custody of Lexie, the couple put everything aside and made her their full focus. They say in just the 2 short years of having full custody, they’ve seen her prosper and grow.

“We have made caring for Lexie our number one priority,” Rhonda said. “Seeing her at night laughing and reading has made it all worth it.”

Soon after gaining permanent custody, the couple started searching for childcare options, where Lexie could go to interact with other children and learn.

That’s when they found the Bristol YWCA.

“As soon as we walked in the doors at the YWCA, we felt Lexie was in the right place,” Bill said. “It’s the only place we would send her.”

The Bristol YWCA is just one of nearly thirty non-profit agencies around the Twin City region who receives support from the United Way of Bristol.

The local chapter is currently in the middle of its annual fundraising campaign, in an effort to raise $1.4 million to support agencies like Bristol YWCA.

Through the years, the YWCA of Bristol has been providing childcare for kids like little Lexie. The YWCA prides themselves on not only keeping children safe while parents work or attend school but prepare children for the future.

“The YWCA supports lower income families by offering fees on a sliding scale based on household income,” said YWCA Children’s Center director, Mary Anne Gibson. “The YW Children’s Center has touched and impacted many lives such as Rhonda and her family in our 25 years of service.”

While caring for Lexie, also known as “her majesty” has been somewhat of an adjustment; Rhonda said tearfully, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“You keep your faith and stay strong,” Rhonda said. “They say everything happens for a reason, and Lexie is our reason. We love her with all our heart.”

Reprinted with permission by:  Zach Irby, Bristol Herald Courier
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