A Heart-Centered Community Leader

Gabriele ScullyGabriele Scully’s involvement with the YMCA of Greater Vancouver stretches over three decades, from volunteer to long-time program leader. Now as a vital leadership volunteer on our YMCA What Really Matters Coquitlam Cabinet she continues to share her time, talent and treasure with YMCA to help bring the Y’s programming and opportunities to her community on a larger scale.

How did Gariele’s Y journey begin? After volunteering for a few years at the YMCA while working on her academic studies, Gabriele Scully was hired to help run and provide leadership to the YMCA Healthy Heart Program for over 28 years. “It was a privilege and tremendously satisfying to help people with cardiovascular disease gain a better quality of life and find much needed community support,” Gabrielle recalls.

With her Gerontology and Kinesiology background and certification as an ACSM Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Gabrielle and her qualified staff, guided by the expertise of our Medical Director and our Medical Advisory Board, were leaders in the cardiac rehabilitation field. They introduced innovative programs such as lipid management, resistance/weight training, Lifepak/AED medical supervision at the exercise classes and helped develop the BC Guidelines for Cardiac Rehabilitation that provided the backbone for the Canadian Guidelines for cardiac rehabilitation. They also provided years of leadership in various roles to the Canadian Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation and the publishing of its newsletter.

Feeling the Y’s Support

“I really appreciate the positive impact that came from working with such a supportive YMCA team of staff and volunteers,” says Gabriele. She remembers receiving the YMCA Sharing and Caring award in 2003 as one of the many ways she felt supported by the Y. She also recalls all the support the YMCA provided when Y Healthy Heart staff started the YMCA Walk of Life over 11 years ago to help grow the event. “The work was demanding,” Gabriele shares, “and it means a lot that the YMCA upper management believed in the value of what we were doing and helped keep our spirits high as we worked together for a common goal.”

“The Y has had such a positive effect on my life. To this day, I am still very good friends with many of our YMCA Healthy Heart staff, most now retired, like me. Even after being retired for over seven years, I have continued to volunteer in various capacities, to try to give back to this worthwhile organization. I really believe in the Y values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility, how inclusive they are and how the Y works hard not to turn anyone away who can’t afford it. I love how the Y helps people be the best version of themselves.”

Continuing to Help Her Community

As a long-time resident of Coquitlam Gabriele is thrilled the YMCA is building a new Centre of Community there. “We raised our family in Coquitlam and my son and his family still live there. I just know the Y will have a positive and transformative impact in the Coquitlam community.” Gabriele was honoured to be asked to join the YMCA What Really Matters Coquitlam Cabinet in 2019. “It’s exciting to help increase awareness of the need for a new YMCA in Coquitlam and raise money towards building the new Y,” she shares. “As a loyal donor to the YMCA Healthy Heart and other programs, it feels good to make a significant financial contribution to the new Coquitlam Y.”