Writing articles during the pandemic has been challenging. While it is no comparison to those on the front lines, or that comparing challenges across any job platform is even viable right now, I experienced a glimmer of hope last week and it reminded me why I do what I do. I think we’re all in need of that hope — a reminder of why we press on day after day.
Let’s be honest. When your job — a place you spend roughly half your life — is going through detrimental changes and everything seems very unsure, the last thing you want to do is be interviewed about programming, staffing or probably anything, really. I’ve recently learned, however, the community recreation industry is full of compassionate and eager leaders who just want to help.
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Michael Roseborough, the Accept, Compete and Excel (ACE) project director and youth forum leader at the Princeton Family YMCA in Princeton, New Jersey. Our initial conversation was on wellness programs beyond fitness, and we definitely went beyond.
Roseborough expressed his concern for the youth in his community who are struggling without routines, school and the social activities they were used to before the pandemic. This is why he created the Paths to Success Series through the ACE program at the Princeton Y.
This weekly online series engages students in the Princeton community, grades six through 12, and allows them to interview successful people with diverse backgrounds, as well as interact with other students in the community participating in the series (read more about the Paths to Success series here).
Additionally, during our conversation, Roseborough shared about the food drives he organizes through the Y, expressing it’s much more than a simple food drive, rather another way he is making sure his whole community knows the Y is still there for them. “The smiles on everyone’s faces when they see us at the door with their food is worth it every single time,” he said. “I feel it’s because they really know the Y is out there thinking about them.”
Other than keeping youth in the community engaged, the goal of the Paths to Success series is also to encourage, and I share this because I think we can all use a little encouragement right now.
Just as my conversation with Roseborough gave me a much-needed boost, I encourage you to find that glimmer of hope and ask how you can encourage someone today.