April 1, 2020 – Prouder Than Ever To Work for the Y
I’ve worked for the North Penn YMCA in our Development Office since September of 2013. I’ve always been proud of the work we do…raising money so we can help provide access to our Y so everyone has the opportunity to take advantage of our programs and services, regardless of their financial situation. But I’ve never been more proud to work for the Y until now. Here’s why.
When I first interviewed for my job, I had no idea that the YMCA was a non-profit. I, like so many others, thought of it as a place to work out, or learn how to swim, or just the lyrics to a fun song to dance to at weddings. But we’re so much more than a gym and swim, and now everyone is seeing that more than ever.
I feel like we just let everyone in on our little secret…that we are a service to our community.
As soon as we learned that our buildings would be closed, the first thing our CEO asked was, “what can we do to help?” Within hours, we had thrown together ideas to provide support to our community at large. We started to make plans to provide child care services for children of healthcare workers, first responders and those providing vital services to the community. We started calling our senior members to help with errands such as picking up groceries, medications, and meals. We shared virtual home exercise programs via social media to help our members stay on track with their fitness routines. All the while, doing our best to provide temporary employment to members of our staff.
And while all of that was going on, something amazing happened. Many of our members reached out to offer their support in one way or another. More than 150 Y members asked that we turn their monthly membership fee into a donation. Members of our community started donating to the Y, which allows us to offer even more support to those who will face increasing financial difficulties due to the current situation.
The Y is the leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community by connecting all people to their potential, purpose, and each other. And now more than ever, even though our facilities are closed, we’re seeing those connections and that strength on full display. And it’s amazing.
March 19, 2020 – Well, that escalated quickly
That’s the phrase that I keep thinking about during this shutdown. A week ago, we were all going about our daily business. I was minutes away from sending out an invitation to our Annual Campaign Kick-Off celebration scheduled for April. Then, our marketing coordinator Shana said, “the governor just announced that all gyms, etc. have to close.”
Wait, what? I thought she was joking until I quickly found the press conference online and started watching it. We were all gathered around my computer, and then we immediately went into crisis mode. We had so many questions. When does the closure start? What does this mean for our members? Our staff? Our partners?
While still figuring out the new temporary normal for my work life, I like so many parents went into crisis mode for my home life. Our school district closed that Friday, March 13 so teachers could work on Distance Learning plans. Then word came that the schools would be closed for two weeks. Our district did an amazing job of quickly putting a plan in place. By Tuesday morning, my two daughters (first grade and ninth grade) were in “school” and I was their principal.
Thanks to technology, we’ve been able to stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues. Who knows how long our new normal will go on for, but for now, we’re all in this together…just from a distance.