From Lifeguard to Child Care Her Passion for Educating has Grown with the Y

My Y Story: Olivia Lyman



Olivia Lyman has worked for the Y since high school when she was certified as a lifeguard. As a swimmer for Alvirne High School for four years, she was well prepared to earn her lifeguard certification in a course offered at the YMCA. “I think because I was so involved in the swimming world, it was very easy for me to love lifeguarding. Allie (Allie Thomas, YMCA Aquatic Director at the Merrimack Branch) was a huge, huge impact on me – someone guiding me and leading me. She was the best role model and teacher and kept me engaged in lifeguarding for all those years. She’s so great at what she does!” Olivia shared.

Olivia continued to lifeguard at the Y when she started her college career at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). She did leave the Y in 2018 because the commute from the SNHU campus to the Y was too much when coupled with her studies.

Olivia earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Psychology from SNHU in May of 2021 and joined the Y’s child care team at the Early Education Center January of 2022.

“I have always known that I wanted to go into psychology in general. After teaching swimming lessons and babysitting for several years, I found an interest in child psychology. I found that aspired to work with kids in one aspect or another. In college I found a super strong interest in child and family psychology through the multiple psychology courses, I took during my time at SNHU. I plan to go back to school at some point to get my master’s degree in Child Psychology or Clinical Mental Health. Eventually, I want to be a child life specialist, practicing in a  hospital setting,” She shared that the position she aspires to is akin to a family therapist for children in a hospital setting, treating children through play, focusing on the psychological aspect of a child’s hospital experience. “I want to be there for kids and their families during that difficult time. Parents and their children have to endure tough experiences while in situations like this and it’s important for someone to be there guiding and helping the child and family along the way,” she said.

Talking about her current role at the Y, “My cousin (Erika Gareri) also works here in the Early Education Center. She recommended that I look into teaching here. I love the staff and kids. It’s been a great fit for me.

Olivia Lyman and Kids

“I am working with 2-year-olds right now and look forward to working with this age group in the fall, as well. When I first started in child care, Elizabeth (Elizabeth Witmer, Child Care Director) and Kristie (Kristie Perreault, Assistant Child Care Director) asked which age children I would like to work with. I had experience working with older kids and babies. I thought it would be great to get experience working with children in the 2-year-old stage. I fell in love with working with this age group. It is such a rewarding experience watching my kiddos grow, explore, and learn during their time in our classroom. I started in January and they have all grown so much since then. When I started, we were still wearing masks so it was difficult for the children to learn to talk and accentuate their words when they couldn’t see our faces and how our mouths moved! None of them were talking when I started, and now they are starting to learn to speak and use more words.” Olivia was hired as a lead teacher in the Karner Blue Classroom. “The staff are supportive and everyone is so kind and sweet. I work with another lead teacher, Megan Hostler, who has played a huge role in my growth at the YMCA. She has been an amazing role model and individual to work with. It’s been great being able to bounce ideas off each other and seeing what works for our classroom and what doesn’t!” I would recommend working for the Y .You have to have love and passion for kids, teaching and growth. The Y is a great place to grow and it’s a great opportunity to learn. I have found that there is such an opportunity for growth. The Y is a fun place to work,” she said.

Olivia, we are so happy you are part of the Y team! Thanks for making a difference in the children you teach and the families you support!


Stay up to date on what's happening in your community! Subscribe to our blog for events, announcements, and stories.

If it's not what you expected, unsubscribe at any time.