Former teacher excelling in role at Hammond Y
By Anthony Nasella Post-Tribune correspondent April 3, 2013 11:12PM
Updated: May 5, 2013 3:12PM
Crossroads YMCA in Hammond has recognized a former teacher who has decided to continue his instructional career at the local Y affiliate.
Dave Clayton now runs the sports and fitness activities at the Crossroads YMCA Hammond Branch (7322 Southeastern Ave.)
Clayton, 28, has been program director since September. He sees his work at the YMCA as a continuation of his teaching career.
“Instead of me just helping kids out— youth basketball programs and stuff — I know a little bit more of the teaching aspect side of it — molding the kids into overall good people and trying to be there for them whenever and however I can,” Clayton said.
He graduated from Crown Point High School in 2003 and earned a degree in secondary education and social studies from Indiana University in 2008. Between January 2008 and June 2011, he taught at schools in Martinsville, Cedar Lake and Crown Point.
According to Dave Mays, who Clayton replaced as program director, he and Clayton began work at the Southlake Family YMCA when they were both 16.
Clayton worked at the Monroe County YMCA as a strength training and wellness coach while he was in college and resumed work at the Southlake Family YMCA in September 2008. He taught in schools until June 2011.
He said the bad economy made it difficult for him to continue and he took small jobs. Then in July 2012, he became building supervisor for the Hammond Y and soon was offered the program director spot.
Clayton directs everything from children’s programs to adult sports. While past jobs prepared him for a classroom of 30 middle- or high-school children, his work now involves more people and more age groups.
Mays credited Clayton with the growth of the men’s basketball league, which now includes eight teams. Under Clayton, the branch has held a five-week strength training class for 12- to 14-year-olds and has begun a Nintendo Wii bowling league.
With dependability come friendships. Clayton has formed a particularly good friendship with Ken Staniszewski of East Chicago. He said he met Staniszewski on the first day at his job and has noticed that the Y member has improved his overall fitness through hard work.
Staniszewski said Clayton’s work at the YMCA is inspiring.
“Dave is the type of guy you want on your team; he can get your team going,” Staniszewski said.