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Treasure Valley YMCA to expand program for kids and adults with autism, disabilities

The Treasure Valley Family YMCA will bring its THRIVE Center program to the downtown Boise Y, with help from a large grant from Blue Cross of Idaho. (Courtesy of Treasure Valley Family YMCA)

The Treasure Valley YMCA will bring its THRIVE Center to Boise, with help from a $2 million donation from Blue Cross of Idaho.

THRIVE stands for Together Helping Realize Inclusive Victories Everyday. It is a program and center for adults and children who are on the autism spectrum or have physical or cognitive disabilities.

“We believe in a Y for everyone,” David Duro, president and CEO of the Treasure Valley Family YMCA, said in a news release announcing the donation. “That means we believe everyone, regardless of age, ability or background have the opportunity to reach their full potential with dignity. We are grateful to partner with Blue Cross of Idaho to create a second THRIVE center within the Treasure Valley to provide even more life-changing, inclusive and adaptive programming for the community.”

The Treasure Valley Family YMCA is a nonprofit that operates facilities and programs in Ada and Canyon counties. It plans to break ground in 2023 on a new facility in downtown Boise, and the new THRIVE Center will be part of that.

“The creation of the first THRIVE center at the South Meridian YMCA proved to be successful, and it seemed only fitting to support a second center in downtown Boise,” Dave Ward, senior vice president of finance and CFO for Blue Cross of Idaho, said in a news release. “We are committed to the health of all Idahoans which is why we are proud to invest in such a worthy cause.”

The center in Meridian offers a low sensory room with swings, a tactile wall, calming spaces and weekly story time; a high sensory room with a music wall panel, “crash pad” and play equipment and activities; life skills classes such as cooking and money management; adaptive and inclusive sports; personal training; and activities such as bingo and arts and crafts, according to the YMCA’s website.

The organization also recently added a therapeutic aquatic program to its offerings.

Based on statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 9,000 children in Idaho have autism spectrum disorder, according to the release.

Blue Cross of Idaho donated $1 million to the Treasure Valley YMCA organization in September 2019, to help create the THRIVE Center at the South Meridian YMCA.