You're never too old, or too young to embrace a car-free lifestyle. In Bianca Patterson's experience, it started early, as a teenager. Her introduction to living a healthy lifestyle began at age 15, when she walked through the doors of the Arlington YMCA and began volunteering as a Counselor in Training.
Little did she know that this would be the beginning of a future career with the YMCA. Patterson cheerfully recalls the various jobs she has held over the past eight years at this popular YMCA. "After I volunteered they put me on the payroll," she recalled. "I've worked in Child Care, Birthday Parties, 'Before and After School Care,' as a Summer Camp Counselor and a Summer Camp Director."
Patterson also teaches CPR, is a YMCA trainer and has been promoted several times, which leads to her current position as Membership Services Representative/Events Coordinator.
Since recently signing on as a Car-Free Diet partner, Patterson is looking forward to building relationships and networking with other partners who have a similar mission: to build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
"We just became a partner last week. It made sense. If you think about it, a Car-Free Diet goes along with what we stand for here at the YMCA, which is for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility."
Patterson was introduced to the Car-Free Diet when she spotted brochures and flyers in various Arlington County schools the YMCA interacts with for their youth programs.
Even though the YMCA wasn't an "official" partner at the time, she felt they were already partners in spirit. "We already participate in Bike to Work Day," she noted, and, "a lot of our members walk and take Metro." She has her walk from the Metro Station timed to between five and eight minutes.
Patterson is looking forward to learning about fresh ideas and sharing tips with Car-Free Diet partners on what they are doing to promote a car-free lifestyle. She referenced the June CFD Connector article, "It's a Rack-It," about making your business a bike-friendly destination. "That's valuable information and we need to check into getting more bike racks here," she said.
As the December holidays wind down, business at the YMCA ramps up in January due to the New Year's resolution surge. In the upcoming year, she's looking forward to working together with other Car-Free Diet partners and encourages any young professionals interested in volunteering to contact her. The YMCA has their Mini Health Day and Fair scheduled for April 16, 2012, and there are many volunteer opportunities like mentoring and coaching as well as a Senior Sneaker program.