Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve realised that for the whole of my life I’ve taken something for granted. I don’t know why it’s taken me until now, but it has. I’ve come to realise that not everyone in this world experiences unconditional love.
Since starting my role as CEO at YMCA Humber I’ve sought out stories to help me understand the vital services the YMCA Humber provides. I’ve heard the story of a teenager dropped off at the YMCA by his parents because ‘he wasn’t bringing any income into the house’. Without the YMCA he would have been homeless. He was 16. I’ve heard many other stories that tugged at my heart- strings.
As we go through life, we may unintentionally form opinions about other people. We may conclude that some people are homeless because they have made the wrong choices in life. But it really isn’t that simple.
Some people never have the support and guidance that I’ve been able to take for granted from being a child to help them make the right choices. They may simply have copied what goes on around them in the assumption that this is the right path of life. No-one starts out wanting to make their life difficult.
My parents divorced when I was 8 years old. Back then in the late 70s, it was unusual; no-one else at my primary school had parents who were divorced. As a child I always felt loved, I always felt part of a family and I was able to take for granted that somebody would always, no matter what the circumstances be there for me in every way possible. My mum put me first no matter what. And all this love and support is still there for me from my parents even though I’m now an adult. Not all young people have this security; not all young people will experience this unconditional love that they should be able to take for granted. Some adults may have never experienced this.
YMCA Humber is doing some wonderful work. I’m so blessed to be a part of it. It is working with young people to help them belong, contribute and thrive. It’s providing accommodation for people in our community who would otherwise be homeless; and doing its best to make their ‘home’ feel homely. YMCA Humber feels like family.
Does it really matter why people need our support? Surely, what’s important is that people who need it, get support at the YMCA and elsewhere; support to move forward and aim to make positive choices. We don’t just provide accommodation at the YMCA, we aim to provide the support and guidance that some people need and maybe haven’t benefited from before. Hearing positive stories; of young people gaining qualifications through our work, taking positive steps in life is a wonderful example of YMCA’s work. I’m already heartened, just 2 weeks into my new role by the valuable work we are doing and the YMCA family we are creating.