My first memory at the 14th Street Y was when I was in kindergarten. I was coming from my school to the After School program, and I was new. This counselor, Matt, was really nice to me. All of the counselors are nice and friendly.
Most After School programs don’t have as many counselors or kids, so it’s harder to make friends. This After School has many choices, so you’re basically independent and free to do what you actually want to do. I’m thankful that I have a lot of friends here and that I basically know everyone, so it’s really fun and nice. The Y is very flexible, and you can basically have your own life, but also go to the Y.
I love the last day of After School. We always have a water party and it’s really fun, and we get to squirt counselors with water.
Community to me is a place that’s kind and welcoming for people who just started off. Somebody would probably take you under their wing if you were new. People will always be there for you. I find community in the Community Room at the 14th Street Y and Shabbat, which is always very welcoming on Fridays.
Portraits of the 14th Street Y is a photography project by Bridget Badore that tells the stories behind the many faces of the 14th Street Y community, including members, staff, teachers, trainers, artists, caregivers, families, and local business owners. Each year, the unique stories of more than 20,000 New Yorkers is woven into the fabric that makes the 14th Street Y a Downtown home for all.