RED Hearts: The YMCA

RED Hearts are guests posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. RED Hearts will be posting every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday through February. Today's RED Hearts post is from Cindy Morand, 19, reporting from Buffalo, NY, who writes about the wonderful attributes of the YMCA:

You can ignore the “Men’s” and the “Christian” -- the YMCA is for everyone, and even they seem to have phased out their original name. But the Youth part is worth keeping in mind. The YMCA is a great organization that many know as a sports club. Now, I’m not knocking any place with a pool -- most Ys have them -- but there’s a lot more to be found here. Their mission is to help people, often young people, have a healthy spirit, body and mind. There’s a Y near you and Ys all over the world, in countries from Gambia to South Korea. Their services change people’s lives.

Two years ago, I did community service in Thailand, in the Chiang Mai branch of the Y. I taught Thai youth how to speak English and helped renovate a school in a small village. I strongly recommend checking out the youth programs at your local YMCA. There’s a leaders club, youth and government programs, entrepreneurship, volunteer abroad opportunities and more. Plus, you can go for a swim while you’re there.

RED Hearts guest poster Cindy Morand is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which was recently published in paperback.