Joel is new to Canada and the English language. This is reflected in his Y story.
I worked at the YMCA for almost 4 years and met a lot of different parents and customers, in spite of long hours the job used to be something I was proud to be a part of. Now is one that you share with something you will never expect to come to admit that when it happen to your life you will never forgot without the Y in your mind, heart and life this memorable moment hardly to forget. I heard a lot of stories from other Y staff and how the Y changed their lives; I never imagined that the Y would show me so many different experiences.
The story start how the Y change my life, it happens this past August 2012 when we went to Disney Land in Florida USA. While everyone was busy and rushing to go inside something caught my attention. It was my favourite character “Stitch” from Lilo and Stitch. I decided to go in line to get a picture with my favourite character while I’m in the long line a father and a young daughter caught my attention as the young girl was looking at me. She was probably an 8 to 10 years old American; the little girl is looking at my shirt I did not pay attention to her as I’m excited as I’m going closer to my favourite Disney character, finally I got my turn they took me a picture with Stitch and when I start reviewing the pictures the little girls as me I like your shirt I did not pay attention to what she said to me, then the little girl talk again and said excuse me where did you get your shirt then I look her and start smiling and I look my shirt it shock me I never see the shirt I’m wearing is a “Support YMCA Strong Kids Campaign”. I asked my self how come it comes to my luggage this shirt? A silence broke when the little girl talk again and ask me once more and she said I like your shirt and I said thank you, and she ask me where I got the shirt I’m wearing I said it was given by the YMCA Innisfil Canada to support the kids campaign, that’s a nice shirt and I said once more thank you.
The girl start asking his Dad if she could have a shirt like what I’m wearing on , his Dad said there’s no available shirt like he is wearing in USA, but the girl still insisting to his Dad about the shirt I’m wearing, and I decided to interfere with there conversation I ask the young girl why she wants the shirt she told me I want it to wear and show to my friends that the shirt I’m wearing is a way of supporting the kids like us which give me a proud to wear as I represent the kids not only the YMCA and its cool to wear it. When I heard the reason why she wants the shirt, then suddenly unexpected tear comes on my eye and I said to my self if this little girl is the way to show me how the Y stand alone and remain paramount in the world I must do something to make the little girl happy, I told her this is only one I have, do you still wants it? The little girl told me yes please when I heard her answered I started to take off the shirt the Dad said is really shameful that my daughter wants your shirt I said if this is the only way to make her happy I’m happy to share what I have I know this is only a small thing but if this the only way to make her happy I’m willing to give the shirt to her. I gave my shirt to the little girl and she told me thank you so much and she told me my name is Jasmine and the Dad said I did not expect you will do that to my daughter to make her happy you’re so generous, I said thank you and thanks to Y without Y I will not meet your daughter Jasmine and you.
For me its been the most difficult and challenging job I’ve ever done, One where I could share all day about the helping children is not only in away of giving money, small thing you gave it to someone is a big treasure that you will never know, you don’t know a way of sharing changes a lot in your life and it’s a huge privilege to be one of Y and I’m proud to be a Y. I can honestly say I did my very best and I’m proud to be a part of the YMCA.
Joel L. Layaoen