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“We want to celebrate today’s youth and help them succeed”

25 October 2022 - by Nicole Meredith
The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a charity, and it’s thanks to our incredible donors and volunteers that we can empower people with essential services, chances to better their lives, and a sense of community and belonging. Why I Give is a series designed to shine a spotlight on these incredible change makers, sharing what inspires them to give back and what supporting our charity means to them.

Today, Maggie Aurocco and Pauline Caballero of bluboho, a fine jewelry retailer, share why they support the YMCA’s youth services, including the Black Achievers Mentorship Program.

Growing up at the Y

Maggie and Pauline have fond memories of the Y from their childhoods. “I have been part of a YMCA since before I can remember, in every city I have lived in, and have always found solace in these spaces,” Maggie says. “It’s always been a beacon of inclusion and wellness in the community.”

“We both got so much from the Y when we were younger,” Pauline adds. “It was that place to go to after school where you were safe, you could have fun, and be with your friends. For us, it was such an integral part of who we were, growing up.”

Inspiration to give

Today, those childhood experiences are part of what inspire Maggie and Pauline to give to the Y. “Because it meant so much to us as youth, we want to make sure we’re contributing and giving back,” Pauline explains. “By donating, we want to celebrate today’s youth and help them succeed. We want every young person to see what’s possible when you have a real chance at accomplishing your goals.”

“I believe the YMCA is one of the best charities out there to support,” Maggie says. “As soon as I was in a position to be able to create a powerful giving practice in my life, I knew the YMCA would be a huge part of my focus.”

Access and opportunities for all

For Maggie, inclusiveness is part of what makes the Y special. “It cuts across generations, ethnicity, and socio-economic status to create a welcoming, safe, and positive environment where people can connect, take care of themselves, learn, and grow. I think the power of the YMCA is in being a place that anyone and everyone can benefit from, no matter what phase of life.”

Pauline remembers the difference this inclusiveness made for her own family when she was growing up. “My parents were immigrants,” she explains. “They wouldn’t have been able to afford things like dance classes and swimming lessons. But the Y offered subsidies, which meant I could join those types of programs.”

Now, Maggie and Pauline want to ensure everyone continues to get the opportunities and supports they need to succeed. Maggie says, “My hope is that our contributions make the YMCA even more accessible, and improve the services offered to the communities they serve.”

Supporting the YMCA Black Achievers Mentorship Program

An education-based mentoring program for Black youth in grades 9–12, Black Achievers is one Y youth program, in particular, Maggie and Pauline are passionate about supporting. “It’s important to us to support diversity,” says Pauline. “We want to ensure our funding celebrates and supports everyone.”

“When it comes to the Black Achievers program,” Pauline continues, “we’re looking to help create a future that a youth might not see for themselves otherwise. How many times do you look to your parents and see what they do for work and think to yourself, ‘Ok, maybe I can do that too.’ But you can also look to other businesses and mentors in the community for that inspiration. I think that Black Achievers shows youth they can do a wider range of things than they might have otherwise thought possible.”

Helping to shape vibrant communities

Ultimately, Maggie and Pauline believe that bluboho and the Y share a deep appreciation for community. “Part of our mission at bluboho is to build lifelong friends,” Pauline says. “We see someone walking through our doors not as a customer, but as a person we can create a deep connection and lifelong friendship with — which is so aligned with the Y. There’s always something for you here in our stores, and I know that’s the same at the Y.”

“The Y grounds and binds a community through connection,” Maggie agrees. “It’s a place for people to build a better path for their lives, and that is a beautiful thing.”

To hear from other YMCA donors and learn what inspires them to give to our charity, visit

Maggie Aurocco is Owner and Pauline Caballero is President of bluboho, a fine jewelry company that carries ethically sourced, raw, and refined jewelry pieces. bluboho creates jewelry and an experience worthy of the moments they mark. Centered around spreading and encouraging human connection, the brand was born out of a desire to celebrate and memorialize cherished memories.


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