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Madison – Barrie YMCA

The YMCA changed my life. I grew up unaware of my abilities and lacked much confidence. I was raised in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario where I often thought that people were born into greatness and that there was really no purpose to anything in life. Riddled with self-doubt, I surrounded myself with negativity. I did have dreams and I did know what I wanted, but was often told or was convinced that the average person couldn’t do incredible things.

By the end of 2010 I moved to Barrie, Ontario and started boxing as something to do while looking for schools. I accidentally found something in fitness that I’ve never experienced-it made me feel extremely happy and empowered. Though I finally had this positive experience, I decided that I didn’t want to spend my time training to hurt people, whether they were willing participants or not. In the end, I stopped boxing and eased my way back into my bad habits again, mentally and physically.

In October 2013 all of this changed. I started getting involved with the Barrie YMCA in a Leadership program with the Barrie Alternative School. I was amazed at what the Y had to offer and I stuck around to be a part of this life-changing organization.

After just a few months of getting involved, I have accomplished more than I believed possible. With the YMCA, I am achieving my goals and have dreams of doing something great. I am now helping to teach classes and run programs, am completing Basic Theory and Individual Conditioning certificates, I’m volunteering in multiple departments and have obtained part time and now full time work with the YMCA. I’m graduating high school and most importantly, finding a family.

Thanks to the Barrie YMCA, I now feel good about myself and have a way to change people’s lives. Here, I’ve turned my negatives into positives and I can now spread that positivity wherever I go. I now know that what I once considered to be the characteristics of an average person no longer applies to me. I am not average. I am me. I can and will achieve incredible things!

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