Neighbors, send a big, warm welcome to Sarah Grai, new executive director of the Harriett and Joe Foster Family YMCA on West 34th Street. Grai came all the way from her branch director position at YMCA of Jefferson County in Port Townsend, Washington, to Houston in April 2018 to the Greater Houston YMCA and was very excited to begin her position as executive director at the Foster Family Y in November 2018.
Grai began her tenure at the YMCA as a professional after college as the membership director, sports director and program director at the Y of the Capitol area in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2008 after earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology at LSU; however, Grai’s experience with the Y began years earlier as a child.
Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, Grai said, “As a youth, every minute of free time was spent playing sports. Many volunteer coaches helped develop me into the person I am today. I originally got involved in the YMCA as a part-time sports staff. I saw this as an opportunity to give my time and talents to the kids like so many coaches gave to me. This part-time job turned into a career that I’ve enjoyed for going on 11 years.”
Grai earned her master’s degree in kinesiology from LSU and is pursuing a doctorate in organizational leadership.
When asked what inspires her, Grai shared, “I am inspired every day by our community. Our community members come together to better themselves and better our community by giving of their time, talent and treasure. I truly believe we are stronger together.”
Grai has enjoyed meeting and working with the members of the Foster Family Y’s board, all of whom are movers and shakers in our community and vested in the organization’s success in providing solid programming to all of its neighbors both young and young at heart.
In her executive director position, Grai is carrying on the long tradition of many who have held strong leadership roles over the history of the YMCA, and some of those leaders made strategic and meaningful improvements during their terms here at the Foster Family Y. Grai’s hope is to continue serving the community through the Y’s much-needed and deeply appreciated after-school care programs and summer camp youth outreach programs, growing programs which serve our elderly neighbors and help keep them healthy and strong, and raising funds to enable more neighbors to utilize the lifegiving programs our Y offers through membership and other scholarships. Yes! There are scholarships for membership!
Remember, the programs at the Foster Family Y are for everyone and no matter what your level of income may be, membership is available for you and your family. Stop in and don’t hesitate!
Grai said, “I am a very small part of what makes our Y great. I am working together with our staff team and volunteers to bring our community together so that everyone can feel welcomed and supported at the YMCA. I am determined to personally make a difference in the lives of our community members through providing opportunities for all to belong and achieve their full potential.”
Neighbors, stop by the Foster Family Y to say hello and welcome Sarah Grai!