Hear Me Roar
December 2018 Issue
Photography by Lindsay Gifford
Member Representative at the Beaufort Jasper YMCA of the Lowcountry
Family: I’m a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, friend, and US Army Veteran!
You’ve been the front desk “Face” of the Beaufort Jasper YMCA for 17 years now. What first attracted you to the job and what makes you stay?
Believe it or not, it was my dream to be the Volunteer Director of the YMCA because of my ability and love of interacting with others. I wasn’t sure I would like it at first, but after my interview with my then supervisor, Ryan Bell, and his confidence in me to be at the front desk, the job began to grow on me. No job is perfect, and there have been bumps in the road, but I have stayed because I truly love what I do. I love to make people smile and get their joy pumping from within.
Pink readers first met you in 2008 in a profile titled: Passing on the Positive. Is positivity still your most powerful tool?
Yep! No matter—And I do mean NO matter the situation —I will put a positive spin on it, praying that it works out, and then I carry on. I don’t ever want my inner “gangster” to come out because of mean people. Just breathe and always think positive because “This too shall pass.”
We hear that you’re a CAPA (Child Abuse Prevention Association) Dancing with Our Stars Champion. Tell us about the event and your experience.
OMG! What a journey! Local “Stars” are chosen and paired with local dance instructors. The teams choose and practice a dance routine, but they also raise money through donations, sponsorships, and small fundraisers. Crystal balls are awarded for best dance routine and most funds raised. When I was asked to be a Star, I was humbled and honored, and I knew I had to “Bust a Move” to help make things better for the children. Thanks to my dance instructors, Topher Maraffi and his beautiful wife, Gina, I learned the Carolina Shag. Due to the wonderful people who believed in the cause, we raised the most funds, and were awarded the 2017 People’s Choice Award. I also became a member of the Beaufort Shag Club!
What does #BeTheDifference mean to you?
Be kind and spread love all over the place! Keep the faith and pray for others. Do not hustle for your worth because you are born worthy. Make a great big deal out of the little moments and always celebrate YOU!
There’s a not-so-little box that sits outside the Beaufort YMCA that’s been said to be “your baby.” What’s inside the box and why is it so important to you?
That would be our Togetherhood Committee YMCA outside library. I call it the metropolitan library of Beaufort County because it is bigger than your average outdoor library. We were getting so many books donated and the bookshelf in the YMCA lobby area could not hold them all, so I suggested we have an outside library built. I knew I wanted it to be big because of all the books we were getting. The digital world has taken over a lot of our reading materials, but books are still very important. Some people still like to turn a page and read a good book. Being a member of the Board of Trustees for the Beaufort County Library System means a lot to me. Computer reading materials are popular, but children should always be able to read a “real” book.
What will Christmas look (sound and smell) like at your house?
There will be lots of Christmas music playing, and of course, the sound of my television, because I’ll be watching as many Christmas movies as I can. I LOVE CHRISTMAS! The smell of Christmas dinner: turkey, dressing, ham, collards, macaroni and cheese, and a few other holiday dishes will be wafting through the house—also the smell of cranberry candles burning. I love that scented candle!
When you’re not busy passing love and positivity along to others, what do you love to do for YOU?
Relax! But I do love to read anything and everything that catches my eye, and if I see a recipe I want to try, I’ll cook. I also like watching Turner Classic Movies.
What are you roaring about these days?
I’m roaring today—and always will be—about supporting organizations that help the community. If we want our community to be a better place, we need to stay involved. Our community has many different organizations that offer opportunities for anyone who would like to help in any capacity, such as volunteering time, sorting goods, administration work, picking up donations, or simply giving a monetary donation. Christmas is upon us. There are organizations both north and south of the Broad that need your help with food, clothes and toy donations. Please volunteer and give from the heart whenever and wherever you can.