This is one of a series of stories about the nonprofit agencies that receive money from The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking campaign that runs through the holidays.
Terrance Hooks, 29, was just looking for a conveniently located gym when he found the Southeast Family Center and Armed Services YMCA.
And he found much more than he expected.
"The gym facility is really nice," Hooks said. "But the people, the staff, they are really friendly, too. I've become good friends with a lot of the people behind the desk and the directors."
According to the website, the Southeast Family Center and Armed Services YMCA provides free or low-cost memberships and programs to service members and their families, and also provides crisis prevention services.
"I wanted to be in the area where I was familiar," he said. "I am familiar with the Y in this area."
Originally from Chicago, Hooks has been in Colorado Springs since 1996. He said his mother wanted a change of scenery and better education for her children, so she moved him and a couple of his younger siblings west to Colorado Springs, where they had some family.
"We packed up everything, and we U-Hauled out here," he said.
Hooks works for a moving service that contracts for the military, and as strenuous of a job as it is, he goes to the gym after work.
"I love being active."
He has been a member at the YMCA since the spring of 2013, and he truly loves the facilities. He has young cousins who play for sports teams at the YMCA, and it gives Hooks the opportunity to watch them practice. Hooks and a nephew also go to the YMCA to swim and play racquetball.
Hooks said the YMCA is an amazing place for children and teenagers to be active and stay out of trouble. It is also a wonderful place for families to come together.
"It is really family oriented," he said.