Youth Development. For a Better Us.
Taima Walker | Age 15 | Lynn YMCA
Twelve year old Taima Walker had just moved to Lynn when a friend suggested she try the Y to meet people in her new hometown. Taima wasn’t sure what to expect when she walked in the door of the Lynn YMCA Music Studio Clubhouse, which provides free music education and production to youth ages 8-18. She came to listen to music and hang out with her new friends, but never imagined that the Y and the Music Studio would end up being so much more to her.
Taima was from a musical family and had grown up loving music, but the Y Music Studio Clubhouse opened her up to a world of possibility. Initially she was overwhelmed by the instruments and the talent of those around her, not realizing the potential that was already within her. “I didn’t know that I was going to learn piano. I didn’t know that I would like the guitar and the noises that it makes.” Taima says with a smile. “It turned out to be a lot more than I expected and I’m glad that I didn’t stay home. It’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve made so far.”
As she started to volunteer in the Music Studio, Taima found her passion for helping others while developing responsibility and leadership skills. She learned how to interact with people, allowing her to gain confidence in herself and her abilities. “I wanted to work with children and teach them what I knew, because to me music is the best thing ever and why wouldn’t everyone want to feel this way about music,” Taima says about her motivation to take on a leadership role.
Now a 15 year old sophomore at Lynn Classical High School, you can find Taima in the Music Studio every day after school, nurturing the young Lynn musicians of tomorrow. As soon as Taima walks in the door, there are 5 or 6 kids trailing behind her asking when she is opening the studio. She designs new plans for each day to teach the children varying aspects of music, from playing the piano, to drum circle, to song writing. At the same time, she teaches them to believe in themselves, guides them to try new things and explore their creativity, while discovering their own passion for music. Taima describes the Y as a safe haven for her, bringing her a sense of camaraderie she had not experienced before in an organization. “Nothing is more welcoming than when you come here and you see familiar faces. It’s like one big family, and I feel like maybe I needed that.”
Taima vividly remembers how impressed she was watching other youth perform onstage. She had never thought she could do something like that, until she was performing in front of a crowd of 1,500 people. Now when she imagines that it could be one of her students on stage playing a song that she taught them on the piano, she is inspired to help them even more. “I have to go teach them something new tomorrow, and I have to do a better job than I did today.”
“The Y nurtures the potential of every child and teen by supporting their unique youth development journey through specialized programming. From cradle to career, the Y provides all youth with the tools and resources they need to succeed in life.” The Y.™ For a better us.™