Holding a position as the executive director at a facility that is named after two legendary leaders, Ambassador Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta, and Dr. Walter Young, Gavin McGuire shares how it is an honor to serve at the Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA and to be a catalyst in the Southwest Atlanta community.
Graduating from Morehouse College in 1996, McGuire’s first professional job upon graduation was at the Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA. While being the teen director, summer camp director and many other roles, McGuire always carried a certain momentum that he says every professional millennial has: he recalls often saying, “If I ran the place, I would do this.” Twenty years after working for various non-profits and community youth development centers, McGuire received a call that the executive resigned and his YMCA family wanted to know if he would be interested in “coming back home.”
One of the non-profits McGuire believes has helped shaped his leadership role as the executive director is Usher’s non-profit, Usher’s New Look.
“Working with Usher’s New Look and Usher’s heart to serve and to build global leaders has really helped me to become exposed to a lot of things in areas of education, technology, career readiness, and entrepreneurship,” he says.
Utilizing his exposure in these areas and the influence on previous leaders from the Southwest Atlanta community, one of McGuire’s goals for the YMCA is to become more innovative and to generate new technological advances for youth.
Gavin McGuire’s overall intention in life is to give and to serve. No matter the age, no matter who you are, if you’re serving, you’re an encouragement to him.
He says, “You know anyone that’s giving back or anyone that’s serving is really a good inspiration for me.”
The Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA recently held a Christmas charity concert featuring singer Jasmine Pollard where all proceeds were funded to assist in serving youth.
“Serving is not tied into your GPA, what kind of car you drive or who you’re connected to, anybody can serve,” says McGuire who’s served in his current role for ten months.
A heavy influence on McGuire’s heart to serve also comes from his mother. He says, “She used to say, ‘Be humble because God can use anybody, but he chose you just to lead to and to serve.’”
YMCA members, staff and the Southwest Atlanta community rally behind McGuire due to his admirable leadership and heart. McGuire feels his purpose is to help others and that is something he will do for the rest of his life.
He says, “Until my eyes close, I’ll be somewhere serving and connecting to the community to help develop youth and adults.”