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Karla, Elizabeth & Kyl: Living Our Cause

May 27, 2016, 13:59 PM by

The month's Living Our Cause award winners work to make strong connections with our community — not because it's their job but because it's what they love to do.

This month, we recognize Karla Rodriguez, customer relations specialist; Kyl Caragol, associate director of teen programs; and Elizabeth Baker, business office. These three ensure that our membership, teen program participants and financial aid recipients (respectively) feel welcomed, valued and supported during their time with the Y. Get to know them better:


Name: Karla Rodriguez

How long have you worked for the Y? 1 year and 5 months.

I work for the Y because… It’s a great feeling to know I’m making lifelong friendships with members and coworkers. When they say age doesn’t matter, it’s true. I’ll have to admit that I’ve made great friendships with members of an older age rather than my own age.

Favorite hobbies: Playing volleyball, eating.

The most fun part about my job is… Getting to know coworkers. I joke around with a lot of coworkers and have gotten pretty close to some of them. I look to them like role models because of how they act, how they do their job and how they give me advice on things that I could improve on, not only at the front desk but life in general.

Favorite bands: Kind of obvious due to my age… One Direction and Maroon 5

The most meaningful part of my job is… Making an impact on a member's life. Each Saturday morning when I notice that some of my Saturday regulars didn’t come, the following week I ask them where they were and it just gives me a great feeling when they tell me, “It’s so nice to know someone cares.” The simplest things can lighten someone else’s day.

Favorite movie: Fast and Furious Series/Pitch Perfect 1 and 2

The biggest lesson I’ve learned while working at the Y is… Be patient about everything. Someone is probably going through something and if they share it with me or not I have learned to understand that not every day is a sunny day.


Name: Kyl Caragol

How long have you worked for the Y? 7 months currently; though, I have worked with Y camps before.

I work for the Y because… I want to be able to reach out to and impact as many youth as I can. I love that the Y encourages community-building and actively looks for needs in the community that are not being met and sets out to fill those needs.

The most fun part about my job is… I plan and run out-of-school-time camps for middle schoolers, so almost all of my job is fun! I especially love having them paint their faces before laser tag, getting them to attempt to guess what’s in the Camp Mystery Box, and the looks on their faces when they see that our camp bus is decorated like an insane pirate ship on the inside.

[pullquote]"Giving them unconditional support and encouragement to be their best selves is my primary goal at all times."[/pullquote]

The most meaningful part of my job is… When a kid tells me they feel safe while with our group, whether it’s verbal or nonverbal. I love seeing the youth transition and grow before my eyes over the course of a week or less. Sometimes the quieter ones get loud, and the loud ones can sometimes get more thoughtful. Giving them unconditional support and encouragement to be their best selves is my primary goal at all times.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned while working at the Y is… I already learned this one, but it always applies: No matter where a kiddo is from, what they look like or how they act, you can never jump to conclusions about who they are. Building a relationship based on mutual trust, respect, compassion and humor will get you everywhere—even with a middle schooler.


Name: Elizabeth Baker

How long have you worked for the Y? Started in 1994 and been in Boulder since 2010.

I work for the Y because… I love the staff, the members and how the Y helps people.

The most fun part about my job is… The people that I meet.

Favorite restaurant: The house of anyone in my family (they always have tequila and BBQ).

The most meaningful part of my job is… Possibilities. Knowing that a parent can have peace of mind to go to work (using Y's school-age programs and summer camp as child care), knowing that someone who has cancer can still bring their kids to programs and not feel like their kids are giving up everything, knowing that a single mom can take a break and her child can play with other kids (in Child Watch). Knowing that a child, who has more responsibilities than any child should — can go to camp and just be a kid.

Favorite way to relax: Hanging with the kids.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned while working at the Y is… Few people are who they seem on the outside. Everyone has a story, but you seldom know the story until you get to know them… and then you see that even the most well put-together person on the outside, struggles on the inside.

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