Go Team YMCA!
We needed to move down here, so we could be closer to my oldest brother. who will eventually be my guardian. When we moved, I was sad a lot of the time. I wanted to go home. After we were down here for about a month, my mom got a phone call telling her one of my best friends had died of a heart attack, and of course, that made me even sadder. A few days later, my mom said, “Let’s go do something fun. Let’s go visit the YMCA and see what we think.”
We both visited the Y, and we both really liked it. So my mom joined, and we started going on a regular basis. My mom knew that I needed a job. I liked to work, and I like being around people, so my mom talked to Kinny Ochoa, the Membership and Facilities Director, and asked him if there would be a part-time job at the Y that I would be able to do. I have worked at Idaho State University for 10 years. I worked in the office of the College of Education, and I did many different office jobs. Kinny was very happy about me working at the Y, and he hired me about six weeks later. It had been two years since I started at the Y. I work at the Welcome Center greeting members, answering the phone, handing out class passes, making the coffee, washing the mugs, helping pull chairs and anything else I am asked to do.
Just recently, I asked Emmanuel Gomez, the Membership Coordinator, if he had any office work I could do for him, and he has been helping me learn how to do some basic spreadsheets on the computer. I love doing that kind of work. I am an athlete with Special Olympics Texas, and I know how good it feels to be recognized for doing our best. Nearly every day I feel good about working at the YMCA. I greet people, and they greet me back. I smile at people, and they remember my name. I help people with their class passes or with the computer or with getting a cup of coffee, and they express their thanks.
I have made so many friends at the Y, and we are always happy to see each other when they walk through the door. Kinny has never seen my limitations. He sees my skills as an asset that will help other and help the Y. I feel respected and valued. The YMCA states that their cause is to “work side-by-side with their neighbors to make sure everyone regardless of age, income and background has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.” I think the Y deserves a gold medal. Being part of the catalyst of bringing people together and nurturing their potential, I am always proud of telling people where I work. Go team YMCA!