She comes to the YMCA every morning Monday through Friday for a group fitness class, and three times a week she comes back in the evening for more classes.

This workout schedule would be incredible for a person of any age, but Gutierrez is 69. She began her journey at the Y about 4 ½ years ago when she started coming with friends in the evening. She started by taking evening fitness classes, but she wanted more and started coming in the mornings as well.

Gutierrez has been active for most of her life. She has especially enjoyed hiking. Once she retired, she felt that it was even more important to remain active, as exercise not only keeps you physically fit but also helps keep you mentally sharp. She wishes more older people in the Maryvale community would become active rather than just stay at home.

Gutierrez has lived in the Maryvale area for 40 years and still lives in the same house where she raised her four children. She has seen lots of growth and change in the Maryvale area but stays here because she loves the sense of community.

That sense of community is one of the reasons Gutierrez continues to come to the Watts Family Maryvale YMCA.

She has many choices in the area where she can work out and even tried another facility for a few months.

“It just wasn’t the same feeling of family as it is at the Y,” recalls Gutierrez.

She loves the classes, where she keeps up with participants half her age. But most of all she loves the friendliness of the staff and the other members. She attends the monthly potlucks that can have 50 to 100 members bringing healthy—and not-so-healthy—foods and hanging out long after their workout time is over, laughing and having fun.

Gutierrez takes care of her 3-year-old grandson, Jacob, during the day. She appreciates that she can bring Jacob to the Amazing Kids child watch center at the Y for two hours while she is working out.

Jacob loves to come to the Y, especially to play basketball. He and Gutierrez often come in 20 minutes before her classes start and shoot hoops together. When he wakes up in the morning, he cannot wait to come play at the Y.

Gutierrez loves that Jacob also gets to learn while he is there and that he feels safe. It is a win-win situation.

In the summer when school is out, Jacob’s older brother and sister also come to the Y to participate in the summer activities the Y offers. As demonstrated by the Gutierrez family, belonging to the YMCA crosses generations and is a family affair.