The ultimate power of the Y is not really our brand, history, buildings or even programs (all of which we’re very proud of). Fundamentally, we are in the business of helping people, families and community achieve a greater level of well-being. In order to do that very difficult but critical work, the power of the Y must come from all of our tremendously talented and dedicated associates. Every day, there are thousands of “moments of truth” that occur with people across our community in which a Y associate can literally change the trajectory of someone’s life.
So, when a friend of mine who is a supporter of the Cristo Rey school sent me this video, I was incredibly moved by what it contained. We have been long-time partners with Cristo Rey, employing many of their students over the years; providing them with valuable work and life experience that richly supplements their academic work. One of Cristo Rey’s graduates is our very own Keyona McNeil, the outstanding assistant site director at College Gardens, our longtime youth development site in Southwest Baltimore. Cristo Ray wisely chose to feature Keyona in this video because she so clearly represents what can happen when the doors of opportunity are opened for a bright and promising young person like her.
Trust me; this will be the best eight minutes of your day today (unquestionably better than any part of tonight’s debate!).
The video also, in all candor, reminds me as the leader of this organization of our absolute duty to be continuously focused on identifying, developing and recognizing the very special Y associates, like Keyona and her boss, the irrepressible Coach Joe Brown, who are the heartbeat of this Y and of our community. I am so proud to call both of them my colleagues. They both motivate young people every day and, by their example, all of us to focus on those endless opportunities we all get to change lives and enhance well-being.
Hats off to Keyona, Joe and all of our amazing Y associates!
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland