“Why I Work at the YWCA” is a series on this blog. This time we hear from Tami Ruckman, YWCA Development Director:
“I work at the YWCA because of what it has done for me personally. I started working out here more than a year before I became the Development Director. I was desperate to lose weight and learn to exercise. I visited every health club in town, and hated them all. I felt so out of place. Then I remembered the YWCA. I learned to swim at the old building when I was 6, and had a church friend who taught swimming. I hoped that it would be a good fit. I told myself even if I was intimidated, I was going to learn to exercise. But I really never felt like I felt at those other clubs.
The first time I came, I brought my Dad, who was disabled. He couldn’t make it down the hall and up the elevator to the men’s room, so Ziggy (YWCA maintainence staff) took him in the back and got him dressed for the pool.
When I started working out regularly, YWCA staff members Howard and Carol and Richard and Eliza and Susan helped me. Every morning, Club W member Joe Craig would look for me on the treadmill and say encouraging words. YWCA Executive Director doesn’t mind that we work out during work, and even works out herself a lot.
I’ve lost about 110 pounds and changed my life and my body completely. I could not have done it without the YW. I still have much more I want to do, but now I know I can make those changes, no matter how long they take.
Even though I love the mission of the YWCA, I work here because it is a community – it is my community. If they ever get rid of me or I leave to work somewhere else or win the lottery and don’t have to work(!), I still will be part of the YWCA of Asheville.”