Impact Story – Volunteerism

Ernie Dupuis | Age 53 | Melrose Family YMCA

In the fall of 2014, Ernie Dupuis found himself at a point in his life where it was time to make a big change. Having been a cook for many years, a sudden accident left him with a dropped foot and unable to continue working because he couldn’t spend the hours on his feet that the job required. “I was sitting at home, because I’m not working, and I was just eating and gaining weight,” Ernie said, “so I needed to do something.”

Ernie joined the Melrose Family YMCA in an attempt to become healthier and transform his lifestyle habits. Starting slow, he spent a few months in the pool enjoying aqua jogging to gain strength and flexibility. From there he worked with the fitness staff on how to effectively use the equipment and develop a routine that worked for him. Today his regular workout routine utilizes almost every aspect that the Melrose Y has to offer, from the Stairmaster, to the pool, to the sauna. Ernie takes his health and commitment to the Y very seriously. “I’m not working so this is my job,” he said. He takes the bus to the Y to arrive at 7am three mornings a week and stays until noon. That dedication has paid off as Ernie has lost almost 70 pounds! Ernie credits his weight loss to his level of commitment to the Y and the staff’s level of commitment to him. “It’s motivated me to be active,” he says of his time at the Y. “Before I was kind of lackadaisical. Now I just want to do things”.

With the inability to work, Ernie was limited with what he could afford, but that did not stop him from joining the Y. Ernie needed the Y to get healthy, to save his life. And the Y was there for him. He is able to come to the Y as part of the ACCESS program, which is money raised through the YMCA of Metro North Annual Campaign. Donations to the Annual Campaign ensure that no one is turned away for inability to pay and that everyone has access to the life altering benefits of a YMCA membership. Ernie is thankful for the assistance the Y provides and pays it forward by volunteering at Melrose Y events, such as the road race. “I can’t run but I offer to work it and do what I can,” Ernie said. “The Y gives me a break, so I pay it back how I can.” Not only has the Melrose
Y had a direct impact on Ernie’s life, but Ernie has also made a substantial impact within
the Melrose Y community. His desire to give back has created a spark amongst some of the friends he has made as they volunteer together at various Y events. For a better us, the Y works to ensure all individuals have the support they need to achieve their full potential. Ernie is an inspiration for a better us as he transformed his life through his involvement with the YMCA. “I can tie my shoes now,” he says with pride. “Before, (the Y) I couldn’t bend over.” He has a goal of losing another 50 pounds as he continues his journey to a healthier lifestyle through the Y.

“We know that when we work together, we move individuals, families and communities forward. We are committed to inspiring a spirit of service by uniting individuals from all walks of life to participate in and work for positive social change.” The Y.™ For a better us.™