Danny L.

University Y Student Center

"From the moment I entered grade school, I was bullied constantly," Danny explains. The attacks were relentless, and while childhood is supposed to be marked by joyful innocence and confident exploration, Danny spent most of his youth in fear and pain from the emotional scarring inflicted by his peers. He was desperate to escape it. "I had no hope, and was constantly depressed," he recalls.

But in the midst of his darkest moments, light found a way in, as it is known to do. In 1987, Danny met a friend, a guardian angel of sorts, who taught him about the power of positive thinking and who affirmed his value as a person. As part of the prescription for healing, this friend also directed Danny toward the Y, encouraging him to consider involvement as a Group Exercise Instructor so that he could motivate others on their journeys to healthy living.

Danny's been teaching fitness programs at the Y for more than 20 years now, and he's a cherished member of the team. He describes his role at the Y as life-giving and enthusiastic. When he walks into the Y, he feels at peace because everyone treats him with the respect, kindness, and love he has always craved.

"My esteem has gotten tons better, and I now feel good about my life," said Danny. He remembers the pain of his youth and draws from it to inspire others. At the beginning of every single class he teaches, Danny intentionally takes time to share a motivational thought. 

"I believe in my heart that God is watching over me," said Danny.