“The handprints of the people that walk together can never be erased”
The year 2017 marked the end of my tenure as Director at the YMCA Medellin, it was only another phase on the road, not the end of the road, nor of my life, nor of the YMCA of Medellin, nor of my life at the YMCA, since this place is a part of me and a privileged place to serve and share with others.
This year was an invitation to be full of Faith, to be patient, to respect, to listen to the subtle and to the unsubtle, to recognize each others place in this place that has joined us to transform our lives, to serve, and to be served. It is why I reaffirm that the YMCA Medellin can be a place where one can live their spirituality in a profound way, this spiritually that makes you take an inner look at yourself, one that takes you on the road to search for realities and to find them, and that makes us join together to BE; it is a place where we live fully, where a new face or a familiar one, reveals itself with a miracle that is life. In this place, we are brothers and sisters, children of God.
In a context like Colombia and Medellin, with all its fears, violence and contradictions as we search for peace among corruption and injustice, I value the work of the YMCA Medellin and of other organizations that we share visions and dreams with. Our work is like a fountain that feeds and transforms the meaning of life, and that makes it possible for us as a community to contribute to transformations in thinking, to social action and in some cases to our spirituality. Here, we are redefining life and finding peace within ourselves and with others, which is ultimately the core of our mission.
During my tenure as director the past 8 years many footprints are left behind that can not be erased as they were a team effort. We, as a team of staff and volunteers, have made many accomplishments, all with great contributions, and by having dreams and strength; it is because of this that in the year 2017 I leave a new generation of leaders, who are mainly professionals who have been through different communitarian processes, which is why their compromise is so strong. They are human beings who have found love and justice within themselves, which has led to the transformation of many lives and of many communities.
I also recognize that our team has transcended the frontiers of our city and our country. What we are and do as the YMCA Medellin is also thanks to our partners at the YMCA of Greater Toronto, Foundation Horyzon of Switzerland, YMCA St. Louis, International office of the USA YMCA, ALCACJ and the Switzerland Churches.
We grew in different areas: in programming, youth volunteers, we expanded our areas of action, increased our partnerships as well as our budget. At the same time, we were able to increase our social learning, and our staff, such as technicians, administrative staff, and financial staff. But, we continue to face some challenges:
-To achieve our spirituality, in a society that only believes in money and competitiveness.
-Self-Sustainability, in a society where only the market matters and development is far from having a human aspect.
-To strengthen our adult volunteer program.
-Continuity, especially when our social work is not recognized by legislative and tributary bodies.
Amongst theses great challenges, I invite you to value our blessings, such as our compromised staff and our youth volunteers that have the strength to transform, our proposals to expand the adult volunteer programs, our partners’ accompaniment and compromise, the appraisal that our local, national and international work has received, a community that continues to work for peace, and the opportunities we have to undertake new roads.
“Start by doing the necessary, then the possible and you will find yourself doing the impossible”
(San Francisco de Asís)
ALEXANDRA CASTRILLON LAVERDE