Each week, the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA highlights a member of their staff, a YMCA member or volunteer as part of its "We Are Y Wednesdays" series on social media. Meet Claudia Tantillo, one of the Y's great after care counselors at Terrill Middle School who also works in their camp program over the summer.

When I was 17 and got my first car, I was looking for a job to make some gas and spending money, so I could stop asking my mom for it. My mom was a nanny at the time, and she had heard about the Y’s after care program and asked about it. Soon enough, I applied and was hired.

I like working at the Y because it helped me become confident. I was always very anxious and afraid to speak up but when I started working with children, that all changed. I realized I needed to step up and help them in any way that I could.

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It is rewarding to see the change in the kids over the years. Watching them blossom into who they are is always my favorite part of the job. The Y also impacted me by helping me gain lifelong friends. Over the years, other counselors have become some of my best friends.

This Fall, I’m also interning with the Y’s Public Relations and Marketing Department. I’m majoring in Public Relations and am currently a senior in college. While interning, I hope to gain experience in the field and put my creativity to the test.

The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA (1340 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains) is dedicated to improving the quality of life of the individuals, families and communities we serve through programs and services that build wholeness of spirit, mind and body. It focuses on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The YMCA is a not-for-profit organization founded on Christian principles, serving people of all ages, races, faith, cultures and socio-economic conditions. For further information about the YMCA and its programming, call (908) 889-8880. To find out about volunteer opportunities, click here.