Transitioning to a new job is a rocky time for anyone. But for Tracey Pyser, 24, her first month was met with a complete overhaul.
Pyser is from Owings Mills and recently moved to Baltimore City, where she is grateful most of her immediate family lives. She particularly loves Baltimore because of its diversity.
“There are people from all walks of life and always something to see and learn,” Pyser said proudly. “People come together to embrace things like the Inner Harbor, Old Bay, and Berger Cookies. You would not see the community that we have in Baltimore anywhere else.”
Pyser began working as a youth experience coordinator with 6- and 7-year-olds at the YMCA of Central Maryland in February.
“I was looking forward to the opportunities my new position had in store, but never would have imagined what my first few months would entail,” she said.
Now, you’re serving families of essential employees through the pandemic.
We had to close our doors to Y members and, instead, opened them to families of essential employees. We welcome a group of children into our care so their parents can continue working on the front lines.
We take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and the children from COVID-19 while ensuring a fun, meaningful, and educational experience.
These children are out of their typical daily routines, so we developed our own routine to make the transition a little smoother.
What do you miss most about normal life?
My friends and family.
I miss the things I normally take for granted, like seeing my family on Friday nights for Shabbat and spending time with my friends over the weekend.
I am looking forward to the day where we can all be back together again. Even though we’ve not been able to see each other, I’ve enjoyed using video platforms to catch up with friends.
I also made it a goal to try baking at least one new recipe each week during the pandemic. Over the past few months, I have also started running and hiking.
What do you do with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maryland?
The Ronald McDonald House of Maryland has been part of my life ever since I can remember. I first visited the house when I was 9. From that point on, RMH became one of my greatest passions.
I’m always looking for new ways to get involved and volunteer. I’ve done just about everything, including hosting activity hours with my family, coordinating dinners for Har Sinai Congregation (now Har Sinai Congregation-Temple Oheb Shalom), organizing fundraisers, running summer camp, and participating in the annual Red Shoe Shuffle 5K. Since 2017, I’ve been a member of the RMH’s Red Shoe Crew, which is the young professional group at the Maryland House. As a crew, we host monthly dinners and activity hours, in addition to helping out with the behind-the-scenes aspects of the Red Shoe Shuffle, our signature event.
I cannot put into words how wonderful it is to be part of such an amazing organization, from the families to the volunteers and staff. Everyone always has a smile on their face. Each time I visit the House, I have a meaningful experience building relationships with the families who are staying there, fellow Crew members, and even my own family.
What does your Jewish identity mean to you?
My Jewish identity is all about tradition.
I have been involved in the Jewish community my entire life, which has shaped who I am today. My grandparents and my mom taught me the importance of expressing my Jewish identity through our values and traditions. Every Friday night, I attend Shabbat dinner at my grandparents’. This is my favorite time of week because I get to spend time with my family and end the week on a positive note.
Being Jewish has taught me the importance of family, giving back to the community, and advocating for what you believe in.
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