Recently an Op-Ed appeared in The Baltimore Sun which implied that we weren’t fully vested in the City of Baltimore. The writer clearly had little understanding of our work, scope, scale and deep commitment to quality and impact in the city and across the region.
Y Association Board Chair Tom Brandt and I both wrote letters to the editor, which thankfully were published both in the online and hard copy editions of the paper. If you’re interested in reading them, they are linked here:
The many comments, notes, emails and readers’ comments online and in social media that came in response gave personal testimony to a comprehensive and accurate understanding of the Y. It’s been gratifying, to say the least, and I know that this positive response and appreciation for the important role we all (Y associates, volunteers, supporters, members, participants) play in lifting up the well-being of our community.
A great example of the wonderful support for the Y popped up in my email box yesterday. It came from Cynthia Jones, a member at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Y in Waverly and an associate judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. I don’t know Cynthia, but I can tell she’s a special person who clearly understands the Y’s mission, values and purpose.
Here’s what she wrote to me:
Thank you for your reader response in today’s paper. I’m a long time member of the Waverly Y. While my schedule does not always permit me to utilize it to the fullest, I remain a member because I believe in the vision and the mission of the organization.
Growing up in Sheepshead Bay, a community in Brooklyn, NY, I remember, as a child, my mother taking me and my brother downtown Brooklyn to attend the Y for swimming lessons. As we got older, I remember my mother working in our community to welcome and participate in the YW/YMHA that built a state of the art facility two blocks from our home. The addition of the facility to our community meant that me and my friends could walk to the Y every day and swim and play as well as participate in the scheduled activities.
When I learned that the former site of Memorial Stadium would be used for a Y, a little league field and senior housing I was thrilled and eager to sign up. As a homeowner in Original Northwood I would be able to work out 5 minutes from my home! The Y would also be a central resource for the surrounding community and our most vulnerable residents.
I like to think that the principles we learned and the love and support we received as members of the Y helped my parents raise and nurture my brother and me to become the successful adults we are today; my brother is a high school teacher in the neighborhood we grew up in and after moving here for law school I’m an associate judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.
When I go to the Y and say hello to the volunteers at the desk or I pass the playground on my way to go shopping at the Waverly Giant or the Waverly Ace Hardware, I see young people who are experiencing joy in their neighborhood anchor that will help them to become successful adults.
Our city has its challenges, some new and some steeped in the history of this city, but I believe in hope and possibilities and that is what our Y offers.
Be encouraged and keep up the good work. Our Y is one of the many positive contributions to our community we have.
In a sea of negatively and cynicism that is so easy to swim in, I want to thank Cynthia for so eloquently “believ(ing) in hope and possibilities.”
All the best,