On a sunny Friday morning when most of you were leaving the bed I was already at Gillette Stadium. Walking into a sea (ocean) of people, the overpowering emotions I felt this morning cannot be expressed in words. YMCA has been doing wonderful things in the community but seeing the impact, listening to the stories first hand was very powerful.
Sarah, local YMCA’s Senior Director of Inclusion and Diversity and I connected last month. Desi Moms Network and what this group really means to me and to the community was something interesting to talk with someone who believes in inclusion.
She invited me to this fundraiser and I am so glad I accepted the invite. There were 100s of people present, many in whose lives the YMCA had played a role. Everyone had their own Y story. We heard from a few on stage and we all could relate to those stories.
Brian Earley’s, (a board member) welcome remarks set the tone for the morning, what inclusion really means for the society. What makes someone feels like it’s home away from home, I sure could relate to that strange feeling. I thought back to 26 years ago having left everything known behind and moving 1000s of miles away from home to find a new home.
Eric Kevorkian, the Chair highlighted what really YMCA is. It’s not only the philanthropy work but the whole idea of an inclusive community that makes it special.
Listening to Farzin Karim, Vice Chair and board member was amazing as she describe how the YMCA played a role in her childhood. More than her story it was her mother’s who came here to study and her dad who supported the family working odd jobs and longer hours so his wife could finish her education. This will remain with me for a long time. I very well know how unheard and uncommon something like this is in Asian culture and on top of that during that time.
The CEO, Jim Downs concluded with his vision to carry forward the legacy and his promise and commitment to community building and reaching out to families in need.
For me this was just not a fundraiser, it was an experience. I did read the statistics, listen to the work the Y does, heard the stories but being there in person I felt how inclusive it was. So many children with special needs were present and I could feel how much at ease they were. They were “home”
Our family didn’t use the Y extensively, Anand did learn swimming, joined Franklin Y’s leaders program and attended at a couple of summer camps. Nothing with “special support” so I didn’t know how many programs the Y runs for families who do need support. It was an eye opener for me.
*Desi Moms Network - is a global community for South Asian moms with children with special needs. I started this group in 2017 and now it has over 280 moms connected in Boston area.
*Gillete Stadium is a football stadium in our state.
*YMCA Sommetimes regionally called the Y, is a worldwide youth organization based in Geneva, Switzerland,
A green Banarasi on St Patrick's day- Indian woman celebrating Irish festival - many people stopped to compliment on my saree, Shawl and bag. 25 yrs ago people will just stare and not say anything. Things sure have changed in last two decades.
Brian Earley’s welcome remark