My family moved from Port Jefferson (where we had lived for 17 years) to Westchester 11 years ago. We first lived in Larchmont in an apartment for about 18 months and then bought a house in Rye in 2007. We joined the Rye Y around 2008 and were mostly coming to the Y to use the pool because my daughter, Hannah, has always been a big swimmer. It wasn’t until a couple years after that that I got more involved with the whole side of the Y, including the fitness center.

In 2008, I had a bone density test done and my doctor saw early signs of osteoporosis. Even though I had been doing a lot of cardiovascular activity for several years, she recommended more exercise using weights. And so, I started doing [it on my own] but I wasn’t using the weights and machines effectively. I decided to get help and asked one of the Y trainers, Brendan Ahearn, if he would work with me. And I’ve been getting help from him ever since. He’s modified my routine, making it more well-rounded, effective and efficient. He’s pushed me to try new things (even when I think I can’t) and encouraged me to not do too much of one thing all the time. I appreciate his more rehabilitative approach, especially as my body ages and gets achier. His help has been life-changing for me and he’s helped me feel much braver.

When I was going to Fordham for my masters in social work, I had to do a field placement at Lenox Hill Neighborhood Association – one of the first settlement houses on the Upper Eastside of Manhattan. Settlement houses were put into communities to help immigrant families receive services back in the day. Lenox Hill had a resident and day camp, a homeless shelter, housing assistance, afterschool programs, a fitness center and a pool, among other things – not unlike many of the services at the Rye Y.

When we moved to Rye and knew that there was a Y here, I was thrilled because to me, the Y is like that. It’s a place that offers services that vary, based on the needs of a community. And the Rye Y succeeds highly in doing that. I support it on so many levels. I primarily benefit from the Y because of the fitness part of it, but the Y has also helped on a personal level. I’ve met some great friends at the Y. I’m busy with so many different jobs, and when I need to disconnect with work and get in touch with myself physically, I do my best to fit it in when I can. Also, when I turned 50, I told myself I didn’t want to feel 50, that I needed to stay fit and be strong. I needed to make sure I was taking care of myself in a physical way, which helps me in an emotional way too.

I find that it’s incredibly therapeutic when I come to the Y. I feel good when I see friends here and check in with them and them with me. I put on my music, I do my thing and I love it. I feel very good about how it’s made me feel strong and energized and able to do things I didn’t think I could do. It has helped me in my job as a garden instructor. Some students often say how impressed they are with how strong I am when I go to lift a bag of compost or use different tools. For that, I am grateful. I’ve met some wonderful people here who have been very supportive at a time in my life when I needed friends more than ever. That’s been a great, great thing. The Y is unique – it offers such a broad range of services, not just fitness stuff. It helps individuals and families on so many levels. As a social worker, teacher, parent and friend, I feel good about what the Y does.