Rye Y Story Project: Habib

HabibI’ve lived in Rye for 20 years. My children used to swim at the Y; both were on the swim team and one of them was a lifeguard. A year ago, I needed to look after my health because my cholesterol indicators were high. My wife gave me a membership as a Christmas gift. I started coming to the Y regularly, using the fitness center and the pool. My health improved dramatically. When I visited my doctor he was amazed and said “Habib, what have you done?” All my indicators were down, in the normal range.

I come here and get to see the same people, who are very friendly. It is like coming home, there is continuity between home and the Y. This routine has become very pleasant. It helps structure the day and it feels good to follow a healthy habit.

As a career international civil servant with the U.N, my life has frequently intersected with the Y. I have observed the Y’s philanthropic activities in different parts of the world. I’ve seen small projects and large projects, but always projects that were appreciated and made a difference for people. In Ethiopia, there was a princess who was a patron of the Y there. After the revolution she lost everything, was exiled and came to New York City. She went to the Y and got assistance from them, was put in a typing class and learned how to be a secretary. She found a junior secretarial job with the UN at first and later rose to senior positions. She always mentioned the Y with gratitude – she felt they gave her a second chance.