YMCA of the Prairie


Personal Training Client Brightens the Day at Don Sjogren Community YMCA

YMCA Personal Trainer Kelsey G’Schwind loves her job at the Don Sjogren Community YMCA In Holdrege, but she particularly looks forward to Tuesdays and Thursdays. Those are the days when April Moriarty and her mom, Meshael, come in for their training sessions.

April and Meshael first sought Kelsey’s help in August 2023. April, 39, has physical and mental disabilities stemming from a premature birth and brain bleed as an infant. The family was once told that April would remain in a baby-like state her entire life, but April has proved that wrong. She attended school, works at a church cleaning toys in the nursery, and has participated in Buddy Bowling and Special Olympics. She has a welcoming smile and loves being around people and socializing.

“I always look forward to coming to work when April is coming,” Kelsey said. “She always puts a smile on my face.”

Last summer, April had developed some shakiness and balance issues and had trouble navigating stairs. Her doctor suggested that an exercise routine focused on building muscle strength could help. So, Meshael sought advice from the YMCA and signed April up for personal training with Kelsey.

At first, Kelsey started April with some simple weight-bearing exercises and cardio training on the NU-Step.

“We learned that April can do a lot more than we assumed,” Meshae

l said. “She can lift a lot more weight than I anticipated.”

April started weight-training on a few of the red Cybex machines that she most enjoyed. Now, she exercises on all of the machines. They also discovered that she can do push-ups.

After a while, instead of just watching April exercise, Meshael decided to start exercising along with her.  

Meshael said the exercise has improved her energy levels. April has benefited both mentally and physically from the exercise.

“I think that April’s strength is better,” Meshael said. “And when she’s walking, she’s not quite as unsure.”

Meshael said that April’s doctor told her that “socializing is a good thing for people who have the types of problems that April has.” He thought it was an excellent idea to exercise at the YMCA. April looks forward to coming to the YMCA and always knows when it’s “YMCA day.”

Kelsey described April as a “social butterfly” during her time at the YMCA.

April’s physical health, including her diabetes, has also improved due to her exercise and weight loss. At her last doctor’s visit, April’s AIC had improved so much that she was able to discontinue one of her diabetes medications.

April’s goals are to continue gaining strength and to motivate her dad, Kevin, to come to the YMCA and exercise with her.