Community is people coming together for a common purpose, and being connected by that purpose beyond the purpose itself. You come together for a reason and then you stay together for a different reason. That’s what a community is to me. You come in with something and you leave with something completely different, like relationships with people you wouldn’t know otherwise.
I like to find community wherever I am. I met a lot of my friends in the comedy scene when I first moved to New York.
I run the After School and Youth Sports Programs. I make sure kids are safe and happy, and learning the right things. Things they might not learn in school, like how to be a good person. I like working with the kids who are labeled as “bad kids,” and helping them work through what it means to be a good person. When a kid who doesn’t usually deal with authority very well comes in at the end of the day and makes sure to say goodbye to me before they leave, that feels good. I also like working with kids who are ostracized in a way, because I felt like I was as a kid. I remember not really fitting in, and then I found my little community. I’m still a kid. That’s why this job is so easy, because I’m very much still a kid. I like that this is a job that feels good at the end of the day. I get to go home and feel like maybe I affected someone’s life in some way, maybe even just a minor way, and I get to do that every day. That’s very rare in a lot of work. Even on a bad day, I still feel like we’ve accomplished something positive. Working here also allows me the freedom to do comedy at night. Comedy has gotten me through my whole life. I made people laugh, and that’s what connected me to people, helped me deal with stress, and helped me out of tough situations. Kids also like it when you’re funny. I think you get more respect from kids and adults alike if you’re able to laugh at yourself.
Being an After School counselor here was my first job after Shake Shack, 5 years ago. This place was surprisingly a good fit for me. I excelled at something I didn’t know I was good at.
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.