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Blog Post #10 – We believe that everyone has potential to unlock

June 29, 2020

I am very conscious that I tend to take criticism very personally. What can I say, I am a sensitive soul. I am also very proud of the work we do at YMCA Humber. So when I read negative comments posted by members of the community on the social media pages of the local paper, mainly about our clients, but sometimes about our work I find it very hard to deal with.

People who find themselves calling YMCA Humber ‘home’ for a while seem to be banded together in people’s minds as one homogenous group who deserve to be judged negatively. We provide a home for 110 people across 5 different locations at YMCA Humber. In any group of over 100 people you will likely find a variety of characteristics. In the 18 months that I have worked at YMCA Humber I have met a couple of people who’ve been rude or a bit aggressive at times. Mostly though, I am greeted at our buildings every day by a ‘hello’ or positive chit chat. Mostly, the residents that I have spoken to have appeared very pleasant.

In my life, I have met a few people who have at first appeared nice but have in fact been unpleasant. That is why we should not judge a book by its cover. We should get to know people surely before forming a judgement (if it is appropriate to judge at all!). Who are any of us to judge?

I know that many people think that people who live at YMCA Humber are all drug users and alcoholics. I have seen the hurtful comments posted on social media. A few (but a large minority) of our residents do have an addiction they are trying to address; and with our support many of them are making really good progress. And you and I have no idea what led them down that difficult pathway.

When we meet someone for the first time, we have no idea what their life was like before that day. And we have no right to judge a person based on where they live. We certainly have no right to lump a group of over 100 people together who for various reasons need the support of the YMCA at a particular time in their life. If you put 100 Chief Executives in a room, I’m sure that you would find that we would be an eclectic mix of individuals with a variety of personalities and backgrounds.

Also, at YMCA Humber, in addition to our supported accommodation, we also run youth service provision and mental health support for young people; our clients are from a broad range of backgrounds. There is so much we do that is not generally understood by the community.

As a society we have talked a lot about #BeKind over the last few months. It should not be a societal ‘phase’ but our default position as human beings. At YMCA Humber we believe that everyone has potential to unlock, no matter what their history, their age, their ability. You only need to look at the achievement of Captain Tom aged 100 to know that it is never too late to make a difference, to make a positive change.

I continue to be very proud of the work we do at YMCA Humber. I would not want to imagine where our community would be without us. And if someone living at YMCA Humber makes a mistake or behaves inappropriately, please don’t judge everyone else calling YMCA Humber their home by the negative consequences caused by one individual. After all, aren’t we ALL a work in progress, aren’t we ALL learning every day? Couldn’t we ALL occasionally be a better version of ourselves, I know I could.