The YMCA, where much of my heart stands… and will stay.

I just entered a contest put forth by former WNBA All-star Lisa Leslie to win four 2011 WNBA final tickets.  To enter, contestants must upload a video of themselves stating what they are passionate about and what they stand for and why, whether that be a charity, cause, person or place.

Here is my video script. Have a blessed and beautiful day!

My name is Ariel. I’m 22 years old and the charity I support is the North Community YMCA located in North Minneapolis.

This place is one that many inner city children call their second home, as this YMCA is like no other, exclusively focusing on youth development and their social responsibility to not only the community, but to the world and themselves.

My twin sister has worked with K-5 there for over 2 years and I try to take the time to volunteer to enrich myself with the beautiful smiling faces and share my inspirational words of hope and determination…while also closely listening to theirs. 

The reason I support this YMCA is because as an inner city youth, I once had a dream of attending college as a journalism major. As a recent college graduate from the University of St. Thomas, I want to inspire urban students to reach their full potential and achieve their own definition of success.

Like many of these children, I found myself faced with the many worries and obstacles of finding a way to afford college, which often times, made a degree seem unattainable.

I would of never reached my goal of being a college graduate if it weren’t for the continuous guidance and support of my local YMCA mentors that never stopped believing in me and challenged me to work hard for what I really wanted.

I have lived and instilled in my mind, the four YMCA core values: RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, HONESTY and CARING and make a conscious choice to share and practice these actions in my everyday life.

I want these amazing children to understand that they are great today; and that they have great potential to become part of the brightest future, tomorrow.  I want to tell them that they shouldn’t let anything stop them from achieving their dreams and that they don’t have to or will NOT contribute to the FAR TOO HIGH inner city high school drop out statistic. THAT IS WHAT I STAND FOR.

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