Opinion

A better us

The Lynn YMCA has hit upon a great idea with its new #SelfieWithSomeoneNew campaign and the timing for the fun and innovative idea could not be better.

The concept is perfect in its simplicity: Inspired by the YMCA’s national “Us” advertising campaign, the Neptune Boulevard Y is encouraging community members to meet someone new, strike up a conversation and discover what they have in common. Then, take a selfie and post it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #SelfieWithSomeoneNew and tagging @YMCA.

Again, the timing for the idea couldn’t be better. Cooler temperatures have made their debut and before anyone can say “holidays,” the trees will be bare and everyone will be bundled up or indoors. Now is a great time with fall in its glory to renew efforts to reach out and make new acquaintances or simply practice the art of one-on-one contact with another person.

So much has been said and written about social media in the smartphone era isolating people and turning them into earbud-wearing, screen-swiping robots who have abandoned human interaction.

#SelfieWithSomeoneNew stands that criticism on its head by urging people to use social media combined with human contact as a tool for strengthening human connections. Introducing the idea in a city like Lynn is great because it’s almost impossible to meet someone new in the city and not realize shared connections spanning family, work, church or neighborhood. It’s just that kind of city.

“Every day at the Y, we see people of different backgrounds who normally wouldn’t have met,

come together, and that is the inspiration for #SelfieWithSomeoneNew,” said Audrey Jimenez,

executive director of Community Relations at the Lynn YMCA. “Small steps lead to meaningful,

lasting change and the Y wants to challenge our community to help build a better us and show

that our differences are a source of strength that benefits our community.”

Jimenez is echoing the words of some of the world’s most inspirational thinkers like King, Ghandi and Mother Theresa when she points out how small steps can lead to meaningful and lasting change.

#SelfieWithSomeoneNew also coincides well with the city’s rapidly accelerating election season. Voters, not people running for office, shape the debate over the city’s future. But the level of that debate depends upon the level of civic engagement demonstrated by citizens. What better way to interest Lynn residents in their common welfare than to give them a fun way to get to know each other?

Like a lot of great institutions in Lynn, the Y is mostly known as a place where good work gets done behind the doors of the building on Neptune Boulevard. But #SelfieWithSomeoneNew is, to use Jimenez’ words again, a small step to figuratively tearing down walls and barriers keeping people from getting to know one another.

The Y and Lynn, for that matter, have always been places attracting people who believe in their hearts they can make a difference that is bigger than just one person. They know that doing good lies at the heart of the Y’s credo and they can see examples around the city of ways people thought beyond themselves to create lasting positive change.

The Y is promoting #SelfieWithSomeoneNew from 4-6 p.m. at 20 Neptune Blvd. on Oct. 26. But the afternoon and evening gathering is also a chance to promote goodwill and the power of people when they come together to find common ground.

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