Linda Rose, YWCA SEMA Receptionist and Widowed Program Persons Director (WPP), has retired after 13 years with the YWCA. YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts staff and board want to take the time to thank Linda for her time and dedication to the YWCA. We wish her a happy and healthy retirement!
We got the chance to sit down with Linda and ask her about her experience with the YWCA. Here’s our interview with her:
How did you first become involved with the YWCA?
Well actually, like everyone else years and years ago I had gone for swimming lessons. And then what happened is my husband passed away and I got a letter in the mail from Joan Yetides, who was the Director of the WPP at the time. I was 38 when that happened and the WPP was at the senior center so I was like are they even going to let me in? I mean I’m not a senior. So I called Joan and she told me to just come on down, they were having a social one night, so I did, and I’m still here!
What made you go from being a widow, to a volunteer, to an employee at the YW?
It just kind of happened. I saw something that needed to be done and I would help. I was actually teaching full-time at the time teaching special needs children and I was at a time in my life where I just couldn’t do it anymore, I was losing my patience and as a teacher working with special needs children you can’t lose your patience because they need all of you and I couldn’t give that to them. But Joan knew I was ready to leave and then I was able to start working at the YWCA. I first got hired for the front desk position while Joan was still here and she was able to teach me more and more about the Widowed Persons Program. At the time I didn’t even know how to run a computer but Joan gave me her old computer with a word program for me to learn how to do some of the work. And I still have that computer at my house!
Why is the YWCA’s work so important for widows and widowers?
Honestly, for the most part there has never been another bereavement program just for widows and widowers. And that’s why Joan wanted to keep it going and I do too because all of these other bereavement programs are just for general grief, and they’re not bad but ours is more specific. And I mean a lot of widows I deal with have spent most of their lives with this person. It’s like they know nothing else, so they can relate to each other where if someone was to come in and say “I lost my aunt” they just can’t relate to that. Their spouses were their other halves so it does make a big difference having this specific group. Some of them don’t know what else they would do, some of them have been coming for more than 10, 15 years sometimes because they essentially become each other’s extended family.
What is one of your favorite memories of being at the YW?
All of them! Even here in the office, the camaraderie here, everyone is willing to work together and help each other.
What will you miss most about the YW?
The people, definitely the people. Because, you know, everyone here is nice and I get along with them all.
What is your vision for the YWCA in the year 2020 and the future?
I’m hoping to see the YWCA do so much in dealing with racism. And equal pay. That’s a big one, so I’d really love to see the YWCA push forward with that.
What words of wisdom do you have for your friends and coworkers at the YWCA?
Honestly, just try to stay happy. Just take things as they come and deal with them without trying to get frustrated over it. Some things you just can’t change unfortunately so just stay positive. Everything happens for a reason whether it is to teach you a lesson or to help somebody else.