Meredith H. serves members at the C.M. Gatton Beaumont YMCA

Since January 2022, Meredith Hairston has been serving the C.M. Gatton Beaumont YMCA in member services, and in some ways, the role is a full circle experience for her. "I was a Y kid when we lived in Virginia. My mom was a single mom and she took advantage of the financial assistance for after school and summer camps. I also did softball and gymnastics there, while my younger brother did baseball. I find that most everyone I come across has a story about the Y. Life is a funny thing, now that I am an adult and working full time for this organization. I understand from a personal level how important the Y can be, and the lasting impression it has on youth."

Meredith's experience getting re-acquainted with the YMCA the past two years isn't just professional for her; during this time, she has also been on her own personal health journey. "I have lost 20 pounds since I began working for the Y. I have a much better general sense of well being. I sleep better, I have more energy." And, she can relate to members who may have to make modifications or who face challenges in starting and maintaining exercise programs. "Now that I am adult with a knee that prevents me from doing certain moves, I am grateful to be a part of a group that has so much to offer, such as Pilates Reformer. All the helpful tips and tricks I have learned has immensely helped strengthen my knee."

Beyond her physical health, Meredith has also had great success with her mental health. "Of course, working out helps mental health. But also, the sense of community and belonging I feel has brought me more happiness than with any other job I have ever had. I have formed genuine friendships with some of the members, and a lot of the staff. Coming to work is not a chore; I look forward to helping people begin or continue their fitness journey."

When she's not serving others at the Y, Meredith loves hanging out with her three-year-old nephew, who she watches a few times a week - always a favorite time for her. She also likes to read, hike, and go to concerts, and loves food - whether cooking at home or going out to enjoy a fine meal. She has found journaling as a way to self soothe, and likes to hang out with her dog and two cats.

Meredith's story, is a reminder of the various ways the Y can have impact on individuals and families. She was a girl who grew up being cared for and belonging at the Y, who is now channeling that experience into meaningful experiences for others. Meredith reflects, "I have a sense of fulfillment, knowing I help people on a daily basis to be happier, healthier version of themselves. I appreciate the fact that we have many opportunities for lower income people and seniors. The YMCA has done so much for the community and continues to do great things. It makes me proud to be a part of the organization."

Thanks for sharing your Y story, Meredith, and for all you do for our members! We love seeing your smiling face at the C.M. Gatton Beaumont YMCA.

Meredith H. serves members at the C.M. Gatton Beaumont YMCA