Y’s Higher Ed, Youth & Government Programs Gave Her Confidence, New Skills

High school senior Julia Shirley says, “The Avondale Meadows YMCA has had a huge impact on my life.” The active young adult explains more about the Y’s impact and how it’s helped shape her future…

From nervous to comfortable

The programs that I have participated in have really opened my eyes. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to attend several college tours and workshops with the Y-Achievers program and have been active in the Indiana YMCA Youth & Government. When I first joined Youth and Government, I was nervous. I am not really one to speak out in front of a lot of people, but as I got further into the program, I began to get comfortable with my Delegation and speaking to an audience of people.

I have attended and enjoyed the Model Legislature Conference as a Delegate at the Indiana Statehouse for four years. There is a lot of debating, speaking against and for bills. I also attended Nationals at the Blue Ridge Mountain in North Carolina, meeting people from 48 states where I have spoken on proposals.

Last summer, I did an internship with Tom Wood Automotive as part of the Y-Achievers new school-to-work component and gained real world experience and a lot of new friends.

Be a better you

Through all of these experiences, I’ve learned that you have to fight for what you want, have a plan, set a goal and strive for it. The YMCA teaches you to be a better you. I will attend the University of Evansville in the fall of 2018 on a full tuition scholarship, in part, because of these experiences at the YMCA.

Julia with Bill Demaree, executive at Tom Wood Automotive and Avondale Meadows YMCA board member

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