Photo shared by Steven Hamill
My YMCA friends from Ireland, Una and Chris, got married last week. They continue to share their journey through posts and pictures of their honeymoon in real-time on Facebook. Social Media is a wonderful way to stay connected with others and learn.
While I enjoy the interconnected value of social media, I still choose to pursue face-to-face communications when feasible for personal and professional reasons. I am inspired by learning from people like Una and Chris in our shared global community. A few years ago, when I first invited Una and Chris to my home they were college-aged employees who took part in a local YMCA that sponsors an international work exchange program.
Through that same program, my family and I get to know a few of these employees each summer. Because they are so far from home, we host a dinner party at our home, in their honor. They rave about getting a home cooked meal and the gift of mere hospitality, fun, laughter and friendship.
Last Saturday my family and I hosted another dinner party for five of our YMCA friends who will be returning to their homes in Hungary, Slovakia and Ireland, over the next couple weeks. Because I took the time to meet with them in person, I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about each of them, including their backgrounds, cultures and aspirations. By coming to our home, they shared perspectives in how they view “Western Culture” through the lens of an average American worker.
I make my living by nurturing person-to-person relationships. Within the scope of my position, I work at being an effective communicator, mentor and coach. I seek ways to help colleagues and donors grow by listening and validating their interests, while tending to the tools and resources that help them stay interested and engaged in our shared work of providing the best possible services to improve the lives of the people we serve. What could be more inspiring and empowering than the opportunity to pursue a shared journey to strengthen our community?