Rye Y Story Project: Donna S.

DonnaI’ve lived in Rye for 23 years. I came to the Y about nine years ago for summer camp for my children. After summer camp was over, I found out about other programs. The Y was very generous with scholarships so we definitely took advantage of that. The kids took swimming lessons and learned how to swim. I signed them up for vacation club. They were camp counselors here. My daughters’ photos are in two of the older program guides. We were so happy when they made the brochures. I believe my son is in one too!

One day, instead of waiting for them, I decided to go to the Fitness Center and use the treadmill. So when the kids were finished, I was finished; it was a great day. That is when my fitness program began.

My children are young adults now: Aliyah is 22, Angelo is 27 and Indeia is 26 and a school teacher. I work at Westmed as a Medical Assistant in Pediatrics. I’ve been there for over 13 years. I know people in the surrounding communities of Port Chester, Greenwich and Rye. It’s wonderful; I see some of the physicians and children here. It is a good connection.

I appreciate the Y’s generosity throughout the years. Living in Rye, sometimes it wasn’t easy. It could be isolating. It wasn’t a diverse town. When I joined the Y, I finally felt part of the community. Honestly, I found my place here. People were friendly. People at the Y didn’t assume I was a nanny – I was Donna, mom of Aliyah, Angelo and Indeia! I connected with people here through physical activity and participated in events like The Rye Derby. I ran for a couple years then I started volunteering and handing out t-shirts!

I feel welcomed here because of the diversity and the friendliness. Everyone is welcome. When you see people like you here it feels good – other African Americans as well as Spanish-speaking people. Just a variety of people getting along from all over, not just Rye. It makes a difference because everyone has a different perspective on life – it just comes together.

I am so appreciative of how the Y has welcomed my family and shaped and encouraged us. Thank you for making us feel a part of the community.