As Mother’s Day is fast approaching, we invite you to meet some of our staff that share their thoughts, impressions and learnings on the meaning and connection between motherhood and their work for community.

When I was a child, my mom and I would volunteer at a neighbouring nursing home on a weekly basis.  This was to put into practice what she taught me at home: to help those in need and to treat everyone with respect. What I love most about working at the Y is that I have the opportunity to interact with all types of different members. Whether it’s as simple and as easy as giving our inclusion services members a smile, saying a quick hello or asking them how their day is going, interacting with them grounds me and makes me happy. As a tribute to my mom, I try to teach my daughter the same lessons.– Marline Evoy – Accounts Payable Clerk

As a working mom, the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA is an amazing place to work. It’s allowed me to come back to work after maternity leave and provided me with a fantastic daycare for my children. Having access to the incredible facilities also gave me the opportunity to get back into shape and lose the baby weight. For years now, the Y has been a place filled with understanding people. It has provided me with flexible working conditions so that I have always been able to do my job while putting my family first.  My children have enjoyed taking swimming lessons, afterschool activities, attending day camp and sleepaway camp all at the Y in the Jewish Community. – Erin Godfrey – Office Manager Harry Bronfman Y Country Camp

I grew up in a household focused on helping others. When I’d visit my mom’s office at the Jewish General Hospital, we’d literally go out of our way to help strangers, again and again. By example, my mom has shown me and my siblings what it means to be part of a community, and she has continued those lessons with our children. When she retired, she focused on volunteering. Most recently, my mom has been volunteering for the Y, reaching out to the senior members of the Y community to offer support in these difficult times, and I don’t see her slowing down any time soon! – Lara Goldenberg – Manager, Customer Experience, Membership and Events

Participation in my community has always been an essential part of my life.  Throughout my teens I was involved in my synagogue youth group, and I worked at Ottawa’s JCC Day Camp as a counsellor and sports specialist.  My mother always encouraged us to contribute our time to the community, and I can clearly remember volunteering to clean cars before Passover, and planning the community’s Purim Carnival one year.  These were formative experiences for me and I remember the challenges I faced and the pride I took in a job well-done.

I work hard to model community involvement now that I have children of my own.  I am a parent volunteer at our synagogue and at my children’s school, and of course I also work as a Jewish community professional at the Y.  I make my mother proud by offering programs that build a deep sense of community through shared experience, and helping individuals strengthen their social connections.  – Keren Ludvig – Chief Program & Community Engagement Officer

My mom, Aline Malka, is a force of nature. She’s an educator, an entrepreneur, a community activist, and last but not least a philanthropist. She taught me the importance of giving back and I’m proud to say I am 2nd generation Montreal community devotee. I started as a volunteer, and finally I took the plunge and have been a professional fundraiser for the last two decades. I love working in and for our community. For me there is no greater feeling than a job well done that changes the lives of our brothers and sisters. My mom has always supported the organizations and the causes I champion, she is a proud Y Governor. Merci Maman! – Sarah Malka – Manager, Development and External Relations

As a Holocaust survivor, Jewish continuity was tremendously important to my mom, and she made sure that I grew up with a strong Jewish identity.  Becoming a mother myself  inspired me to want to put the Jewish values I had been taught into action, first as a lay leader, and now as a Jewish community professional.  As CEO of the Y, I get to play a role in ensuring that everyone in our community is provided with meaningful opportunities to engage in Jewish life. I am so fortunate to be able to spend every day doing something meaningful for the community that is also a gift to my own children and that honours my mother’s memory and her legacy. – Elyse Rosen – CEO

Almost 15 years ago, the Y provided me with a place to socialize when as a first-time mom, I enrolled in a mom & baby dance/fitness class, and a baby swim class with my eldest daughter, who at the time was just three months old.  Both my mom, who thanks to her unconditional love has taught me so much about motherhood, and my mother-in-law, who used to attend socials at the Y in her late teens and twenties, came to the Y watch my daughter swim every chance they got.

Since, my girls have attended YCC and two years ago I came full circle by joining the Y’s professional team. I’m proud to be part of the Y family. It’s given me the chance to show my girls first-hand how the Y serves so many different people within our community.  In doing so, my hope is that my own girls will find their own special ways to connect and engage with the Y.  – Keren Besner – Director of Marketing and Brand Strategy