Investing in Children, Community and the Y
Joel Aragona understands the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Having never belonged to a gym, at the age of 53, he joined the YMCA after deciding he needed to get in shape. Joel describes this decision as "an amazing change in his life." As a result of the Y's classes and working with a trainer, Joel realized a marked difference in his health-having never felt better.
In addition, what Joel liked best about the Y is the unique community he found. "It's not a competitive environment, people don't care what physical level you are at or the type of clothes you are wearing; rather, what you find is support and camaraderie. I never expected to make so many friends. It's a great feeling to have a sense of being a part of something," Joel says.
A Life Transformed
The transformation, both physically and mentally, that Joel experienced propelled him to become involved in more ways than one. Joel joined the building committee and both he and his wife, Rhela, became supporters of the Teen Career Connection-a program that provides internship opportunities for underserved high schoolers. When Joel and his wife attended the ceremony at the end of the year, they were amazed at the ease and confidence with which the teens spoke. There was a sense of security in each of them. It was clear to them that self-assurance was a product of the Y. "Being a member of the Y gives you the opportunity to see children and teens being mentored and the tremendous impact it has on their self-esteem. The Y sends the message to all children, regardless of their background, that they matter," Joel says.
When Joel and his wife started to plan their estate, becoming a Heritage Society member was an easy choice. Having no children of their own, they liked the idea of investing in a place where the benefit to children is so tangible, so necessary. In their own eyes, the experience the Y provides for all children was the experience they would have wanted for their own-a place where the youngest members of our society are nurtured and supported. The Y teaches all children to believe in themselves and believe in their potential. "I'm proud to support an organization like the Y that fosters a sense of camaraderie and healthy living-in every sense of the word-for all people, for all ages," Joel says.
In addition to their focus on children, Joel recognizes how important it is for the Y to continue to support communities and populations that are in the greatest need. The Y serves the critical role of bridging the gap and reaching those communities who are the hardest to reach. In Joel's own words, "The Y's work is critical-it means so many things to so many people, personally it's made such a difference in my life."
For more information on how you can help with our specific needs, contact Gary Laermer at (212) 630-9629 or email@example.com . And thank you for your generous support of the Y.