Member Profile: Stephen Parker
"Come here to find a friend"
That is the motto that adorns the McBurney YMCA. For Stephen Parker, it is a motto that has meant the difference in his life.
Stephen first joined the YMCA in the 80s when there weren't many private gyms, and options were limited. He was a member for several years, but his work transferred him out of the area. Upon his return to New York in 2002, one of his first orders of business was to rejoin the McBurney YMCA. In the time that had elapsed, a new McBurney had been built; the facilities had been improved, faces had changed, but as Stephen quickly recognized, the motto and the spirit of the McBurney Y, remained the same. What has always been true about the Y for Stephen was his ability to connect with people, every day, who shared the same ideals, values and desire to do good. Despite all of the differences, the Y was what everyone had in common, and bonded them to one another. "I made friends here everyday," he said.
The children that attend the Y are what Stephen loves the most. Having no children of his own, he enjoys the energy and hopefulness of having them around. "Private gyms don't allow children, but the Y does, the children are what make this place run. They are the focus and it is what makes the Y so unique and so important. The Y teaches children about healthy lifestyles from an early age, they are engaged here, families are engaged here," he said. Being active has always been important in Stephen's life so it is easy for him to appreciate how important the Y is to the children of New York and the city itself.
In Stephen's eyes, no one should be discouraged from or denied the opportunity to join a Y, which is why Stephen made the decision to get involved with the Heritage Society. Stephen views becoming a Heritage Society member as a "good business decision" and a natural part of the planning process. When he thought about how he was going to prepare and plan for the balance of his life, he wanted to get the most bang for his buck. "Where else do you get to see your money actually doing good?" He said, "this is not an abstract concept, you see it first-hand, and you feel the difference it makes."