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Cathi Duchon is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ann Arbor YMCA. Today she speaks with Morning Edition Host Christina Shockley about her three ideas to improve the state of Michigan.
Ms. Duchon begins by urging residents to support the development of children in their communities. At the YMCA, Duchon says, “We’re for the development of every child, and finding the positive in them… We are all about encouraging them and giving them positive feedback all the time.”
But Duchon says that everyone should take on the responsibility to provide support and encouragement to the children in their communities. “We all know kids,” says Duchon, “We all see kids very often. And so we can always do the encouraging part. We can always tell them that they’re making a difference… It’s easy, it’s free, and we all have the opportunity every day.”
As to the benefits of encouraging youth development, Ms. Duchon sees supporting younger generations as an investment in the future. She says, “The more we do to bring our youth along, the better our state becomes. Kids will be the future of the state of Michigan.”
Ms. Duchon’s second idea is to promote active and healthy living across the state. As to how to live a more active and healthy life, Ms. Duchon says it’s easy: just move more. “Anyone can add steps to their day,” she says, “They can just take a few extra steps when they’re parked somewhere. They can take the stairs. They can make the choice to just increase their activity level, and that alone increases your health.”
Citing the high rate of obesity in the state, Duchon says it’s important and easy for Michigan residents to be a bit more active. She says some people might be intimidated by the idea of exercising, but that it’s important for them to know that if they simply “increase their walking, walking in ordinary ways and in common ways that they have an opportunity to do every day, they can increase their activity and therefore increase their health.”
For her final idea, Ms. Duchon urges everyone to be socially responsible and give back to their communities. She says social responsibility is an effort that everyone should share in.
As an example of an easy way to be socially responsible, Duchon explains how the Ann Arbor YMCA encourages every child who spends time at the YMCA to pick up three pieces of trash each day. She says, “Doesn’t that make our community a better place? And it teaches the kids that social responsibility is everyone’s job and it’s also very easy.”