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Stories of Us: The Real Y

“The Y gave me my first chance at a job.” -Bruce Depew, age 29

(Bruce Depew and Dave Williams, 11/16/2018)

Where was your first job?

We remember our first jobs because for the first time, someone outside our families saw value in us. They gave us a chance. For Bruce Depew, his chance came from Dave Williams, the Y’s Director of Facilities. I recently had the opportunity to interview them both.

Bruce participates in Shasta College’s College to Career program. The program pays wages for up to 100 hours at local employers to help their students gain work experience. For Bruce, getting a job didn’t come easily.

“I went to a lot of interviews at a lot of places where they said, “we’ll give you a call in about a week,” but after that week is up, I don’t hear from them. Pretty much they think that because of my size, they say ‘No, we can’t risk having you hurt yourself, have a heart attack or anything medical-related that might (put the employer at financial risk.)’ Dave is the only one who gave me a shot at actually doing a job.”

“And you did a darn good job,” said Dave Williams. “I mean that. I’m really proud of you. You know, Bruce, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t concerned at first. But you did great, man, you just kept pushing and you got through it.”

For his 100 hours at the Y, Bruce did custodial and maintenance work with the facilities crew. His favorite task was changing out the pool filters. “Bruce, when you get to know him, is mechanically inclined,” said Dave. “When it comes to maintenance and pool chemicals and things like that he wants to do more than just cleaning. He’s got his certificate in Automotive Technology at Shasta College.”

What was most important to Bruce about his Y experience? “Pretty much I love it here. I like working with these guys; it’s fun. For me personally, I don’t get out much, and I don’t interact with people very often, and so working here has helped me get out of being a lone wolf – you could call it that. It got me out of being by myself and interacting with people and working with people that like me for who I am.”

After his experience at the Y and with a reference from Dave, Bruce was able to get another College to Career job at a local car dealership as a lot attendant. He still comes back to the Y whenever he can to see his old coworkers. He has a membership now, and likes to volunteer cleaning the indoor pool.

“Bruce loves hanging out with us,” said Dave. “I want to see him do well; I want to see his health improve, because I love him and he’s a good man and I know he’s a smart guy, and I know there’s more than what meets the eye. And he knows I know that. And I’m just trying to give him some love and encouragement. We want to keep him motivated. He’s motivated and he’s trying.”

When I asked Bruce what was one thing he wanted people to know about the Y, he kept it short and sweet: “That the Y is a good place to go to.”

At the Shasta Family YMCA, our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. If this matters to you, please contact the Y’s Director of Development Becky Dominguez at (530) 246-9622 or to see how you can contribute.   

- Dave Tanner, Shasta Family YMCA Board Chair

To see more impact from the Y, click here.

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