Breaking Down Boundaries: Samia's Story
I moved to New York City from Bangladesh when I was 12 years old. Coming from a very small village where houses are made of wood to a big city was a huge change for me. I remember getting off the plane and my father telling me, “We’re here for an education. We’re here so you can have a better future.”
I was scared. I didn’t know how I was going to fit in. I looked different. I didn’t speak the language. I didn’t know anybody. At school, I was the shy, quiet girl. And because of that, my grades suffered.
"I used to be the shy, quiet girl. The Y helped me break out of my comfort zone and give me the confidence that I could be whatever I want. As a human being, you have to feel like you belong somewhere. I belong at the YMCA." - Samia Soma
After finding and joining YMCA programs like Global Teens and Leaders Club, my English not only improved, but I also began to break out of my comfort zone. I started to do well in school, open up to others, and make friends. The YMCA quickly became my second home.
With a combination of hard work, and the help of the Y, I eventually became the valedictorian of my high school, which was beyond what I ever thought I could accomplish. Now I have the confidence that I could be whatever I want.
And that’s what’s special about the Y. They allow teenagers like me to find their way, meet new people, explore themselves, learn new things, travel to new places, and learn from the environment around us.
As a human being, you have to feel like you belong somewhere, and I belong at the YMCA.