August 17, 2018
Decorated by a scarf every day (her trademark since she was a teen), O’Dell Boyd is the first face you’ll likely see when you first step into The Crown Family YMCA Center on Van Buren street. With a warm smile, O’Dell says one of her greatest joys is greeting people at the Y in the morning. Boyd has been a part of the YMCA of Metro Chicago for 17 years. Before coming to the Y, she worked at the John Hancock Center for 15 years for the American Medical Records Association, where she was an accredited record technician and the cover girl of one of their published journals. She likes to stay busy, as she discovered during a gap year between both jobs.
Outside the YMCA, O’Dell is passionate about teaching youth on Sundays at Christ Universal Temple and seeing them grow throughout the years. One thing she always tells them is, “there’s a purpose for your life, don’t forget it.” At the temple she’s also the captain for her birth month, the March group, and meets with them every first Sunday to work on their newsletter and send letters to people who are shut in, including a woman who lives in a nursing home in Chicago, to let them know that they are not alone and that others are thinking about them.
When answering the phone at the Y, O’Dell acts as a resource to anyone with questions. “I think it means so much to greet, to answer the phone with a smile because you don’t know who’s on the other side of the line. You don’t know what’s going on in their lives.” She also enjoys watching the children play and learn first steps at the Early Learning Demonstration Center, a pre-school at The Crown Family Y Center.