Keri and Yvonne Howitz aren't just a dynamic mom-daughter duo, they're also workout buddies, accountability partners, and each others' biggest cheerleaders. They both joined the YMCA in 2006 and though both have navigated some ups and downs of life since then, supporting each other and staying active at the C.M. Gatton Beaumont YMCA have been consistent.
"I joined the Y working in Kids Corner but I stayed because I found a group of people that will push me and help me hit my goals in life," explains Keri. Likewise, Yvonne shares that people are the cornerstone of her "why" at the Y: "My Y experience has been life-changing. I've met so many wonderful people, it's like family. So many positive people at the Y encourage me, and we all have the same goal - trying to stay healthy. The Y family really cares about you and it was a game changer for me."
But it isn't just the wider Y community that keeps these women moving; they separately share about the influence of one another in staying active, healthy, and confident. Keri says part of staying at the Y is "because my mom works out there and we keep each other accountable. I love that my mom goes with me to exercise classes and we can workout together. She is my inspiration. When I grow up I want to be just like her." This sweet sentiment is echoed as Yvonne reflects on the quality time she gets with Keri at the Y. "Getting to workout with my daughter is so uplifting. There are days that feel I cannot do it and she will say, 'come on, Momma you got this.' She's a rock star and keeps me moving. I appreciate her so much."
Through group exercise and years of meeting new people, both Keri and Yvonne have experienced personal growth. Both cite deepening self-confidence as an outcome of their time at the Y. "The Y has helped me in many ways. It has provided me a job, a safe place to workout and it has helped me become more confident in myself," Keri explains. Yvonne shares that when the Y community checks in, it's a good motivator for her and has helped her gain confidence. "It's great to hear someone say you look so good, you've gotten stronger, and where have you been? I've missed you. These are all positive influences for me." Additionally, she says the Y is a "loving community where I can be me."
When they're not in group exercise classes or working out at the Y, they enjoy family time -- Keri is a superstar auntie to Yvonne's grandchildren, and they both delight in their respective roles doting on the kids. Keri additionally is an accomplished, dedicated runner and loves kickball; Yvonne has her sights set on dance lessons someday and finds music soothing to her soul.
When they think about the Y, both Keri and Yvonne said they think of "friends and sweat," which feels like a truly authentic reflection of their individual and collective experiences through the years. Their final thoughts seem to perfectly sum it up. Keri says, "everyone is friendly and I know it's a safe place to workout," while Yvonne reflected, "Everyone is so helpful and friendly. As soon as I walk through the doors I have such a good feeling in my heart. It's like family."
We're honored that Keri and Yvonne agreed to share their inspiring story with us. We'd love to hear from you! Do you have a Y story you'd like to share? Email us!