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BY M E R E D I T H K N I G H T / P H OTO S BY L A U R E N M A R I E M E D E A N

C OOP ER ST REET Y M CA

Cheryl McCarver

Cheryl McCarver’s cup runneth over. With 15 grandchildren—and three more on the way—plus a job she adores, these are surely the best years of her life. Looking back, the Executive Director of the Cooper Street YMCA realizes the road that led to her career began as far back as teaching Sunday School in her teens. “ T here was just something about bringing the scripture lessons to life for kids through song, craft, and the stories,” she said. “All my life, I’ve found joy in serving and giving back. I guess it’s natural that I’d fi nd my calling in nonprofit work where the core of everything we do is seeing a need in people’s lives and meeting it.” Growing up, Cheryl had two inspirational role models. “My mother is a lover of people,” Cher yl said. “ She meet s no stranger. My father is a retired Air Force veteran with a work ethic he instilled in all his children. The marriage of the two—love for people and hard work—has been a magical combination for me. I’m so grateful for who my parents are and who they’ve been for me.” Even as a child, Cheryl was creative and organized. And she loved physical activity. Yet her heart was always pulled toward roles that served others, such as teachers, beauticians, or even, she says, helping animals. How perfect then that she found her way to the YMCA, where she can put her creativity, organizational skills, and nurturing nature to work making a difference in her community. “It’s been a blessing to offer the gifts God gave me toward community development

and health and wellness-focused work, building relationships that strengthen the health and well-being of children, families, and communities,” Cheryl said. “Through my work at the Y, I’ve learned how important it is to begin by building relationships with the people, respecting their journey, and understanding the places where people live, learn, and love.” Somehow Cheryl fi nds time to mentor three younger professionals, volunteer in T V production at her church, serve on the boards of Healing Hands Ministries and Texas Health Resources Community Leadership Council, serve on the Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs Task Force of the city of Dallas, the Dallas Ft. Worth Hospital Council’s Community Health Committee, and volunteer, when she can, at the food pantry. “My goal is always to serve the Lord

with gladness and make the spaces I fi ll better than they were before,” she said. “Sometimes in life we lose our way, or our hopes and dreams are stalled,” Cheryl said. “When this happens, I always go back to my creator and reconnect to who He made me to be. It’s like a GPS rerouting me back. It might sound odd but one of the things I ask myself when determining where to exert my energy, time, and focus is, ‘Is this the ditch that I want to die in?’.”

CONTACT

7120 S. Cooper Street Arlington, Texas 76001 (817) 419-9629 AMAYMCA.org

june 2019

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Profile for Arlington Living Magazine

Living Magazine June 19