When someone joins the Y, they are not just joining a gym. Members will find a supportive community full of friendly faces at the YMCA. At the Galowich Family YMCA, one of these friendly faces belongs to Jose ‘Jaime’ Portales.
Portales’ relationship with the Y goes back 35 years and he has worked at multiple Joliet locations in a variety of departments and programs. He currently serves as a Wellness Attendant on weekday afternoons at the Y’s Houbolt Road location.
At 70 years old, he continues to serve the community with energy and passion, promoting a lifetime of health and wellness. You can learn more about him in the Q&A below:
Can you share a little about your background with the Y?
Portales: I started in 1985 when I got my certification to be a lifeguard at the old YMCA in downtown Joliet. Then I came over to Galowich as a lifeguard. I started by helping kids learn to swim and then I taught adults. I’ve probably taught close to 100 adults how to swim.
Why have you stayed connected to the Y for so long?
Portales: It’s a big part of my life and it makes me happy. I enjoy what I do and I always want to teach something. It’s really important for people to think about being healthy and staying active. I have played a lot of sports and I have a run club that I really love doing. I also teach Teen Fit and Self-Defense classes.
What are your favorite memories of being at the Y?
Portales: The best thing that has happened is how many good friends I have made. I love my co-workers and getting to know all the new members who come in. That’s what I enjoy most.
Why do you think people should join the Y?
Portales: When I talk to my friends about why it is good to join the Y, I tell them about how much they learn about staying in good health. It also helps your spirit.
Jaime is just one member of a dedicated staff team that is ready to help new members succeed as they move along their Y journey. Be sure to say hello to Jose the next time you visit the Galowich Y!