Every Y Has Their Y Story

Every Y Has Their Y Story

#WhyIY
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Back in August, I started working for the Y. Since then I have been told on several occasions that I needed to know my Y story because at some point I would be asked what my Y story is. “My Y Story: Whether you come to the Y to work, play or volunteer, whether you are 5 or 55, we want to know what the Y means to you.” I was also told, several times, that if my Y story was “just that you needed a paycheck, that will change” and “it won’t be that for long.” Well, they were right. While I came to the Y originally because I just needed a job, that is no longer the only reason.

I found my Y story in a very unexpected way. On my way back to work one afternoon I stopped to get coffee, nothing unusual there. Colorado has these little drive-thru shacks called Dutch Bros, which is better than Starbuck, and the people that work there are always upbeat and happy. They almost always ask you how you are and what you’re up to and stuff like that. So I pull up to the window, place my order, and then proceed to talk to the person who had taken my order.

As always, I was asked what I was up to for the rest of the day and, as always, I responded with “Headed back to work.” Every now and then I get asked where I work, today was one of those days. I told her that I’m Before and After School Care Site Director. Normally the response I get is something along the lines of “Oh cool” and then they hand me my coffee. Today was not a normal day. The girl inside the shack responded with “Oh, like for the Y?” Shocked, I told her yes. She then told me that when she was younger she would attend the Y Before and After School care and that she had loved it. She then handed me my coffee and told me to have a good day. I left feeling good that I work for something that obviously had a positive impact on someone and feeling that maybe I could do that for my kids.

I got to work, it was a Thursday which meant that I had a group of students that are rowdier than groups I have during the rest of the week. Part of the issue is that I have this one bunch of kids that really like to push not only my buttons but my Group Leader’s buttons as well. As I was sitting there signing in all the kids who were there one of the button pushers walked up to me and said, “My parents think that you guys are so much better than the other programs we went to.” Not really paying too much attention to this I just said “That’s nice. Don’t forget to wash your hands for snack.” What he said next shocked me. “I think you guys are much better too. The other people were mean and you guys are fun. We don’t get in trouble for no reason here.” And then he got in line to wash his hands. When I say that this shocked me, I’m not joking. Here is this kid who likes to cause trouble and push our buttons and complains about the activities we do telling me that he likes it here.

Now you may be wondering, “OK, so what does this have to do with your Y story?” Well, this is my Y story. I Y because of kids like the girl working at the coffee shack and the kid who pushes my button. I Y because it means I get to be that positive impact in someone’s life. I Y because while it is a job and I get a paycheck, I get to make a difference in someone’s life. What started as a job and a paycheck turned into so much more.

Cover Image Credit: Blair Gruendl

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hot air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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50 ways to demonstrate self-love Today

It's the little things that count.

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Today, and every day, it's important to incorporate self-love into our lives. Each day, we can do something little that adds up to something big to benefit ourselves and our mental health. Loving yourself comes in many forms and activities.

1. Remind yourself that you, and your feelings, are valid.

2. Be true to yourself.

3. Do not let others take away your uniqueness.

4. List 10 things that you love about yourself.

5. Read your favorite book.

6. Take a walk alone and reflect on what makes you happy.

7. Do yoga.

8. Watch a movie that makes you laugh (or cry).

9. Paint your nails.

10. Buy your favorite drink from your favorite coffee shop.

11. Take a nap.

12. Eat your favorite food.

13. Start exercising.

14. Write down how you are feeling.

15. Identify a challenge in your life, and develop a plan to overcome it.

16. Get a massage or a facial.

17. Talk on the phone with someone you love.

18. Cry if you need to.

19. Pet a dog.

20. Go get your hair done.

21. Buy a new outfit that you feel confident wearing.

22. Log off of social media for one day.

23. Drink lots of water.

24. Talk about your life journey with someone else.

25. Color a picture.

26. Try a new hobby.

27. Go outside, and find five beautiful things to take pictures of.

28. Think about what has made you grateful today.

29. Let go of something that is bothering you.

30. Look up inspiring quotes.

31. Engage in uplifting self-talk.

32. Light your favorite candle.

33. Go on a drive to a place where you feel at peace.

34. Think about how much you have grown.

35. Take note of your accomplishments for the day.

36. Recognize your feelings and know that you are allowed to feel.

37. Take the leap of faith to get the help or assistance that you need.

38. Be kind to others.

39. Write a letter to your younger or future self, and read it over.

40. Start a gratitude journal.

41. Put on your favorite face mask.

42. Clean out your closet or room of clothes you no longer wear.

43. Understand how important self-love is.

44. Write small, encouraging notes to yourself on post-its, and put them around your room or home.

45. Take a bubble bath.

46. Smile at yourself.

47. Try meditating for 10 minutes in the morning.

48. Do something that is truly relaxing to you.

49. Go to a park.

50. Do what makes you the happiest.

Every single person is worthy is self-love. The ways of engaging in self-love are infinite, so you are able to find what works best for you. Do not doubt yourself! When you start to love yourself, it seems like life makes a lot more sense.

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