Women & Development Month

To help conclude YMCA Women & Development Month, here is an example of a young YMCA leader who is having a big impact on her community. I hope to visit her in Lviv when I go to the Ukraine this summer.

Interview with Yulia Krasnokutska – TenSing leader and Board member at the Lviv YMCA and volunteer of the year

The YMCA in Lviv has given me a great opportunity to become a leader. I was first invited to the YMCA by the President of Lviv’s local YMCA and since that moment my life has changed. At the time I was a student attending not just one but two universities studying teaching and choreography. I joined the YMCA social program working with orphans and kids with heart diseases. When I was given the opportunity to be a youth leader at the YMCA Western Regional camps at Lake Svityaz everything changed and my eyes were opened to the wonderful environment of the YMCA.

I have been dancing since I was 4 years old and fell in love with the TenSing program. As the city of Lviv did not currently run a dance program I approached the board in hopes of starting one. I was greatly supported and encouraged to begin. My first step was to find a local spot to provide classes. As the YMCA did not have their own building and could not afford to pay rent many doors were closed. I set out to find sponsors. My parents soon became the very first and classes began. I am one of four children in my family. Due to my father’s health condition our family relies on support from the state as well as through the two jobs my mother works. This made it difficult for them to continue sponsoring and required us to continually look for cheaper places to rent.

In 2010, I was offered the position of Director of the State Centre for Youth and Children in the small village of Ivano Frankovo. The position worked out of a very old building that did not even have bathrooms but at least gave my TenSing group, the Madlena, a place to hold dance classes.

Now I wanted the girls on my team, who shared the same dream, to realize that they too could make it happen. Last November they were the dancers for the opening of the National YMCA Floorball Championship in Lviv, and then in February the team was given the opportunity to participate in the YMCA Western Regional Winter Camp for the first time.

What is my vision for future? I know that every young person is responsible for their own life. In five years I want to be working at the YMCA youth-at-risk prevention, rehabilitation and dancing centre. I dream of a YMCA with dance studios and no rent. Where people of all ages can come anytime to grow and develop in hopes that they too will become embraced in the YMCA family the way I have.