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One of Many

I’m sharing today because I’m one of many that believe in what the Y does. I’m not referring to the day to day, what I’m talking about is something bigger.  You see – it’s like a big jigsaw puzzle. There are a thousand pieces – but when you bring it together, it’s an amazing picture.

The YMCA is a picture of community. Community that helps one another, supports one another, and challenges one another to grow and to thrive. A community that brings us all together in a way that teaches us to honor, respect, and care for one another.

The YMCA is, for many, a safe place and a part of their family. The YMCA is a great equalizer for people of all walks of life in our community. We have millionaires and cashiers working together and living life together out there. But here’s the thing…that picture doesn’t come together without YOU. Without each piece of the puzzle, the picture is incomplete.

My job provides me with opportunities to travel throughout the country. Because of this I have been to YMCAs in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, NJ, New York, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kansas, Missouri, D.C. and Louisiana - what I can tell you is that, I have always been treated well and like family wherever I go.

Some Y’s have nicer facilities than others, some have lockers that you can barely put your shoes in while others are cherry wood, raised panel doors big enough for you to stand in (not suggested of course). I have been to Y’s with the latest equipment (it almost does your workout for you) and Y’s with dumb bells that are missing chunks of metal (makes your 90# about 87.5).

The big picture is what happens because of all that the Y does; it is a piece in the puzzle that reflects a strong community. Let’s unpack that. Ultimately, the YMCA’s vision to grow a stronger community is about helping each person grow. Everyone has potential to grow in life.

Potential is the mind’s right to imagine. The body’s right to move. The soul’s right to believe in itself. The YMCA believes that potential is every person’s right; every person’s advantage; and every person’s secret weapon. It’s theirs to explore and expand, every time they show up. That’s why the Y says to all people and about all people – welcome!!

Whatever the age, whatever the stage; the shy ones; the eager ones; wrinkled or not; alone or together; born here or born anywhere. The Y is a place to feel that you belong; that you are connected and accepted. Whether you are home, traveling for work, or visiting abroad the Y is a place where many become one and all are welcome!

Toby Thomas - YMCA Member