When YMCA Board Member Hernan Guerrero was in 8th grade at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Lawrence, he met YMCA staffers Frank Kenneally (now YMCA President & CEO) and Craig Wilson who ran the school’s physical education program. “I was in another afterschool program that I didn’t love. At gym time, Frank said to come and check out the Lawrence YMCA. I couldn’t go on my own because I wasn’t in high school. Frank said to see him when I stopped by the Y,” Hernan said. It was that day that he purchased his first student membership to the Y. This was the start of his after-school visits to the Lawrence Y, memories that he cherishes.
“Before I joined the Y, I used to go to the Y with a friend of mine. We lived in the Bradford Apartments in Lawrence. We used to go to open swim at the Y. We would pay a dollar to swim,” he said. “I pretty much went to the Y daily from middle school through high school. Frank was running a teen program and this is where I met a bunch of my friends. There were teen movie nights and a teen lounge near the locker rooms.”
“Coincidentally, when I was in high school, I was invited to tour Middlebury College in Vermont. The college was sponsoring visits for Latino kids from the area for diversity. I met my future wife on that trip. After the trip, we saw each other at the Y! She was also part of Frank’s teen programs!”
Hernan attended Central Catholic High School and his wife, Dilsa attended Lawrence High School. “I loved playing basketball in the small gym. I showed up right after school at 3:30pm and stayed til 9pm, when the Y closed. I met a bunch of friends who are still friends. I started working out at the Y, lifting weights. I played basketball and baseball at Central Catholic. When I made varsity baseball, I needed to get a bit stronger, so I spent time lifting weights at the Y and did that through sophomore year in college (Northeastern University). I came home on weekends and went to the Y.” A realtor estate broker/owner with Blairemont Realty Group, Hernan joined the YMCA’s Board in January.
“I had a narrow vision of what the Y offered when I was a kid. Now on the Board, I see a bigger perspective of what the Y means to the community. That’s the most enjoyable part of it – that the Y helps the community in so many ways. The Y is community first. Everything the Y does is to help our members and help the community. It’s very impressive.”
As part of the Y’s onboarding of new Board members, Hernan is paired with mentor and long-time Board member John Fouhy. “Hernan’s own Y experience informs how he thinks of his role on the Board. He wants the Y to build community and connections that are life-affirming for all people. Hernan is inquisitive, thoughtful and prepared to contribute. We are fortunate he joined the Board,” John said.