Mandy Witmer used to think that ‘home’ is where she came from, but she discovered that home is actually where she chooses to be.
In 2011, Mandy experienced upheaval. She lost her advertising job in Evansville, where she was born and where her family is from, and she grappled with depression. To break the cycle of negativity, Mandy decided a fresh start was what she needed. She packed up her belongings and moved to Indianapolis.
In Indianapolis, she found the YMCA.
At the Y, Mandy got more than access to a gym and scheduled activities. She joined the Y’s MultiFit group, a multi-sport program that offers swimming, bicycling, running, and strength-training to Indy Y members of all ages.
“When you have a community that’s there for you, to support you and encourage you — it makes a huge difference,” Mandy said. “We don’t just get together and run. We have social activities outside of the YMCA, too.”
Research shows that having strong support systems and feeling a sense of belonging are key in battling depression. Mandy has been able to recover from depression through the help of friends she made at the Y.
Mandy also found her professional home at the Y. Today, she is the Member Involvement Director at the Jordan location of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. In this position, she builds relationships and ensures member satisfaction for all Y members. In the local community, her face is a familiar one, as she also tirelessly recruits and trains volunteers for the Y’s events and programs. Mandy also translates her love of fitness toward fundraising every year via a 17-hour triathlon that benefits kids who need swim lessons. Every $46 gives a child this life-saving skill.
“Find something in the Y,” Mandy said. “Because I bet you it will be life-changing, getting to know people within the YMCA and getting involved.”
Mandy finds that she’s much more suited to this work than she ever was in advertising.
“I feel like I am the YMCA,” she said. “I have that YMCA story … I don’t think I could’ve made it without the YMCA. The YMCA is essentially my family.”
She has found a passion, a purpose and, most importantly, a home at the Y.