National Volunteer Week is April 7-13, 2019. We here at the YMCA of Greater Richmond wanted to take this time to highlight some of our amazing volunteers.
We spoke with Atlee Station Family YMCA Youth Sports Volunteers, Judy Wood and Margret Rice, who shared their Volunteer Story with us.
Judy Wood and Margret Rice – Youth Sport Volunteer Coaches for Atlee Station Family YMCA
Q: Can you all tell us about yourselves?
Judy: I’m married with 2 daughters, and I’m a Grandmother of 2 grandsons and 2 grand-daughters. I am from a family of 5 girls with one of them being my twin sister. Personally, I have run over 30 marathons, numerous ultra’s, and did competitive powerlifting for 8 years. I also ran my first marathon at age 41.
Margret: I have 2 sons, 3 granddaughters and a grandson due in May. I am the youngest of 12 children and have a twin brother. I was 41 when I ran my first marathon and since have run 30+ marathons, numerous ultra’s and love running trails and mud races. I play on a co-ed softball team with my twin brother. I’ve done one powerlifting meet and continue to do weight training.
Q: How did you come to volunteer at the Y?
Judy: The first year that the Atlee Station YMCA opened we were asked to establish a 10k training Team for the Monument Avenue Race. We have been there ever since.
Margret: Judy and I were coaching a 10k team at another location before the Atlee Station YMCA opened. Once we found out the opening date we asked if we could take on the 10k program and establish a 10k training Team for the Monument Avenue Race. I immediately joined the Y and Judy and I have been there ever since.
Q: What makes your Y volunteer opportunity special?
Judy: Loving working with the Cross-Country kids and seeing them achieve their goals. The 10k training team we have kids to senior citizens walking and running. Their smiles each week knowing they just accomplished something that they never thought they could.
Margret: The people. I love people of all ages and all abilities. Being able to work with the Cross-Country team and seeing them grow and improve is a reward in itself. I coach other teams and I get great joy in seeing people of all ages and abilities begin to believe in themselves and what they can do. It does not matter whether you are fast, slow, running or walking it matters that you are moving. It feels good to think you are making a difference in someone else’s lifestyle by helping them be successful and accomplish goals in a healthy lifestyle that seemed so far out of reach and not possible. I tell them all the time that “you have to believe in yourself” and that “I already believe in you”.
Q: What’s something you hope individuals you interact with at the Y take away from this experience?
Judy: Sportsmanship, respect, self-esteem, self-worth, compassion for others. There is so much negativity in this world if they can come out of this with a positive attitude that is all we want.
Margret: Believing in themselves and their abilities, more confidence, respect for themselves and others, sportsmanship (we build up each other and not tear each other down). When you work hard at something, you will reap the benefits.
Q: What’s something you’re taking away from this volunteer experience?
Judy: That no matter what you may be going through there is someone out there that has it worse. You cannot judge a book by its cover!
Margret: Each and every day is a gift. It does not matter who you are or where you come from we all have a bad day, but our day may not be as bad as someone else’s. Treat others as you want to be treated because you never know what they may be going through. A smile, or a little encouragement and positivity can make a difference in someone’s day.
Q: What would you say to people interested in volunteering for the Y?
Judy: It is very rewarding, has been a great opportunity, and I have met some truly great friends and is a part of my life. I’m not sure what I would do without volunteering.
Margret: Do it. Take the time to make a difference in someone’s life. You don’t realize how rewarding it can be until you have experienced it. You will meet some amazing people who more than likely will end up being very good friends. If you can make a difference in one person, its worth all the time put in and so rewarding. Volunteering has become a very large part of my life and it has made me a better person and I would be lost without it.
National Volunteer Week is April 7-13, 2019. Consider celebrating with one of our many opportunities at the YMCA. Find the perfect opportunity for you here.