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Viewpoint from Mary Gilbert YMCA -Norfolk

Mary Gilbert
Regional Manager for the YMCA - Norfolk
I hviewpoints cross logo jpegave been an employee of YMCA-Norfolk since September 06. I am regional manager and manage the supported lodging scheme in the town as well as managing our team of pastoral care workers in a number of schools in the borough. I am also a member of St. Andrews Church Gorleston
Change is something we all face in life in a variety of ways – from small changes which irritate to largMARY GILBERTe changes which have a major impact on the future direction our lives will take. Some changes are choices we have to make, whilst others are imposed upon us. For me changes have accelerated over the past few years and some of the choices I have made in recent years will impact upon me and my family for the rest of my life.
One of the changes made was to change my career at a time when several of my friends were looking forward to early retirement. This led me to work for YMCA Norfolk – a really major change for me. I come from an educational background, and have taught for a number of years. I have also worked as an Ofsted Early Years Inspector. In some ways I believe I had been cushioned from many of the problems others face. However, I seem to be making up for lost time! At YMCA I have seen many difficult situations and heard many sad stories. We may not always be able to mend broken relationships, provide financial security or ensure a magic wand is waved to deal with all problems. What our workers can do is to offer listening ears and a sympathetic heart. In some situations we may enable solutions to be found – a roof over the head of a homeless young person or opportunities to access education and training. Sometimes situations are forced on the young people and they do not have personal choice – so change is very unwelcome. For others the enforced changes ensure a young person is safe and secure something all young people need. What is key is that most of the young people we work with feel uncared for or sad.
Mauntitledking difficult choices, facing unwelcome changes, and overcoming difficulties through life mark most of our life journeys. I believe that for me having a safe and secure faith in God and believing in the power of prayer has enabled me to move positively forward through my life. There have been times when things have felt overwhelming and difficult, but I have had my faith and good friends who have shared those times with me.
I think one of the most evoc13537105e54f5bd0e1mative poems that have given me strength is that of Footsteps. A man is walking along the beach with the Lord. As he did so he was looking back on his life, watching the Footsteps of his journey through life. He asked the Lord why when times were hard there was only one set of footsteps. In the words of the poem:- ‘The Lord replied, My precious child, I love you and would never forsake you. During those times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then I carried you.’


wendy (Guest) 19/05/2008 14:13
Nice one Mary. Wendy