Teacher finds ‘home away from home’ at Y

For Kathryn Jacobson, the Waynesboro YMCA has become a second family.

“When we moved here, we didn’t know anybody here. Everybody we know is back in Utah,” said Jacobson, who moved to Waynesboro last year with her husband, Nate, and their three children – Logan, 12, Carter, 8, and Bella Mae, 5 – basically sight unseen.

“We were looking for something new. We wanted to spread our wings,” said Jacobson, who worked as a music therapist in Utah, and came into contact with staff at the Y interested in developing a new music-therapy program.

Jacobson leads the Music and Movement program for Pre-K and school-age youths at the Y, with the Silver Sneakers program aimed at seniors and with the YMCA’s innovative I Can Do It program for special-needs students from local high schools.

The connection between the three is using music as a stimulus for physical activity.

“Music therapy for seniors helps people reconnect with their past through music from when they were growing up,” Jacobson said. “It’s amazing to see people’s lights turn on. Oh, I know this song! And suddenly they’re taken back to their youth, and they’re experiencing joy, and that helps them be in touch with the now as well, things that are going on around them.”

For the kids, “it teaches them basic rhythm and musical elements,” Jacobson said. “With the Pre-K kids, we start really simple, with, loud, and soft, and clapping to a rhythm, moving your body to a rhythm. Just teaching them basic musical elements.”

In the process, the Jacobsons have found a “new home away from home.”

“Everybody here at the Y has been so upbeat, so encouraging, so embracing. We’re blessed to have been able to make this connection,” Jacobson said.

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