YMCA of Central Ohio

Thank You Justice Clothing Store


On Friday, May 20, Justice Clothing Store generously donated boxes of children's clothing and accessories.  The donations were distributed to needy kids and families at the Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA.  Thank you for your kind donation, Justice Clothing Store!

YMCA of Central Ohio is a Kiwanis Club Centennial Grant Recipient

Kiwanis Club of Columbus Celebrates Centennial with YMCA of Central Ohio

Celebrating their historic centennial milestone at the Ohio Statehouse, the Kiwanis Club of Columbus applauded the work of four local non-profits, all of which are committed to serving central Ohio youth.  With an unprecedented investment of $100,000 beyond their annual contributions to our community, the YMCA of Central Ohio, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Boys & Girls Clubs and the Columbus Children’s Choir each received grants to fulfill critical projects at their respective agencies.  Representing the YMCA of Central Ohio at the event, president and CEO Stephen Ives stated, “We are extremely privileged to be recognized by an organization like Kiwanis that intentionally focuses on youth serving organizations. We look forward to the opportunities we have in partnering with the agencies honored this evening and continuing to expand our collective impact on central Ohio youth.”

The YMCA of Central Ohio received a $30,000 grant from Kiwanis for critical updates at Hoover YMCA Park, one of the Association’s premier Day Camp locations.  This grant will allow the Y to have a greater impact on youth through expansion of its performance space for teens and renovation of the Park’s Adventure Area and Challenge Courses. An estimated 2,000 children will visit Hoover YMCA Park this summer. Through this investment, youth and teens will have unique opportunities to grow in teambuilding, trust and self-confidence.

On behalf of the YMCA of Central Ohio and all those who will enjoy their summer at Hoover YMCA Park, we are extremely grateful to the Kiwanis Club of Columbus for their generous support.  The newly renovated Adventure Areas will be named in Kiwanis’ honor.

Pictured from left to right:

Mark Swepston, President, Columbus Kiwanis Foundation, Stephen Ives, President & CEO, YMCA of Central Ohio, Pamela Biesecker, Sr. Vice President, Nationwide Insurance and Second Vice Chair YMCA of Central Ohio Metropolitan General Board, Jeff Rayis, President, Kiwanis Club of Columbus

The Y Celebrates 172 Years of Making A Difference

Five Historical Reasons the Y Makes For a Better Us™

On June 6 the YMCA marks more than 170 years, as more than a place, it is a movement that offers programs and services designed to foster youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Here are five past notable events and achievements that demonstrate the Y’s commitment to the communities it serves:

1. American Institutions: Celebrations such as Father’s Day, and organizations like the Peace Corps, all have their roots at the YMCA.

2. Camping Under the Stars: The oldest known summer camp, Camp Dudley, first opened in 1855 and countless numbers of boys and girls have since learned the skills and wonders of camping through the Y, developing critical skills and making memories along the way.

3. Inventing New Ways to Play: From James Naismith's invention of basketball to instructors creating racquetball and what would eventually become volleyball, the Y has a rich tradition in activities that are played by millions of people around the globe. One Y staffer, Robert J. Roberts, is even credited with inventing the term “body building.”

4. Nobel Laureate: YMCA leader John R. Mott was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for the Y's groundbreaking role in raising global awareness and support and for the organization’s humanitarian efforts.

5. Furthering Education: The Y is credited with spearheading the first public libraries, night school for adult education and English as a second language courses.

How the Y is relevant in 2016

Today, the Y serves more than 22 million people annually and offers resources at over 2,700 locations across all 50 states. Here are three ways “community” continues as the Y’s number one cause:

1. Nurturing the Potential of Our Kids: When kids are out of school, they can face hurdles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Nationwide, the Y helps over nine million youth to close gaps in hunger, health, learning, water safety and safe spaces while providing a place to stay healthy, build friendships, and achieve more – all while having fun! Each program demonstrates the Y’s unwavering commitment to ensuring children are on track for a successful education, especially those in underserved communities.

2. Improving the Nation’s Health: More than a place to work out, the Y offers programs that help individuals and families improve their health and enact changes that strengthen community and society as a whole. From working with people who are trying to find ways to improve health, but don’t know how, to preventing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and helping people recover from serious illnesses like cancer, the Y is one of the few organizations in the country with the size and influence that can effectively reach millions of people. Ys are also active in the community, creating communal gardens, increasing access to farmers markets and ensuring children have a safe route to school.

3. Support For All Our Neighbors: As one of the nation’s leading nonprofits, the Y's social services and volunteer programs help more than 10,000 communities nationwide. From organizing volunteers when disaster strikes to member-led community service projects through the Togetherhood program, every effort helps to make a difference.

For more information on Y programs please visit: ymca.net/forabetterus 

Memorial Day Hours

Check out which branches will be open on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30.

Branches Open

Delaware Community Center YMCA: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Jerry L Garver YMCA: Noon-6:00 p.m.

Grove City YMCA: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA: Noon-6:00 p.m.

LIberty Township/ Powell YMCA: Noon-6:00 p.m.

Branches Closed 

Downtown YMCA

Hilltop YMCA

North YMCA

Pickaway County Family YMCA

Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA

Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA

The Y at Clark Hall


New families get FREE YOUTH GOGGLES
when you join now-Memorial Day!

In celebration of Water Safety month, we’re giving away a FREE pair of goggles to all children who join with their family, Sunday, May 15-Monday, May 30.

  • Valid for 1 or 2 Adult + Kids - summer, monthly and annual memberships only
  • Each child, ages 5-12, on a Family membership will receive a pair of youth goggles
  • Supplies are limited, so join today.


YMCA of Central Ohio named “Best Gym” By 614 Magazine

The 2016 Best of Columbus awards were annouced by 614 Magazine and the YMCA of Central Ohio was once again named as Best Gym in the Columbus area with almost 2,000 votes!


Thank you to everyone who voted! We are proud to serve the Columbus area. We hope you will celebrate with us at the ColumBEST party on May 25.


More information here: http://614columbus.com/2016/05/best-fitness-centergym/

YMCA of Central Ohio wins United Way Agency Award of Excellence

On Thursday, May 9, 2016, the YMCA of Central Ohio was recognized with the United Way of Central Ohio Agency Award of Excellence at the annual Celebration of Excellence awards, held at the Ohio Union at The Ohio State University.

This award, given to one non-profit each year, is the most distinguished agency award, recognizing overall campaign achievement. The YMCA of Central Ohio's fundraising campaign for United Way was up 40% in employee participation over last year, with an additional 23% increase in giving. 

To read more, click here: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/05/05/United-Way-shifting-focus.html

New Program brings Medical Care to those in shelters

More than 6,000 people served in local hospital ERs in a year were homeless. A new pilot program has brought medical respite beds to Van Buren Center. People who are homeless and suffering from serious illness can receive medical care while in shelter. This is a partnership between PrimaryOne Health, YMCA of Central Ohio and Community Shelter Board.




Kiwanis Club of Columbus announces YMCA of Central Ohio as grant recipient

Kiwanis Club of Columbus Celebrates Centennial

with $100,000 Community Investment

Columbus, OH - -Four local agencies will benefit from the investment of a local service organization this year. The Kiwanis Club of Columbus has chosen four organizations, Boys & Girls Club of Columbus, Columbus Children’s Choir, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, and the YMCA of Central Ohio, to receive grants totaling $100,000.  The group marks its 100th Anniversary in 2016 and chose to celebrate by investing in the community’s future.

“Kiwanis Club of Columbus is all about giving back and working to change our community for the better,” said Centennial Celebration chairperson and club Past-President Kathleen Roberts.  “Every year our club invests over $80,000 in the community but this year we wanted to make an even bigger impact by sharing an additional $100,000.  We couldn’t be more thrilled about the projects we are supporting.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus was the recipient of a $30,000 grant. BGCC’s mission is to empower the youth who need its services and programs most to fulfill their potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.  The grant supports the Growth for Great Futures Initiative, a strategy that will put the Clubs on track to serve 10,000 of Columbus’ most at-risk youth by 2020.  Funding from the Kiwanis Clubs of Columbus’ Centennial Grant will be used to underwrite costs associated with relocation of the Westside Club to the Hilltop neighborhood.  A library in the new center will be named in Kiwanis’ honor.
The Columbus Children’s Choir received a $20,000 grant to establish the CCC Summer Singers sponsored by Kiwanis Club of Columbus. Columbus Children’s Choir serves central Ohio with educational offerings including workshops, festivals, community engagement programs, and its longstanding programs for children in kindergarten through twelfth grade—all with the mission of fostering the personal growth of children through meaningful experiences in music education and vocal performance. With the support of Kiwanis Club of Columbus’ Centennial Award, Columbus Children’s Choir will offer summer music classes for the first time.
Kaleidoscope Youth Center will use its $20,000 Centennial grant to support new programming in their new location. Kaleidoscope Youth Center has been serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Ally youth in Central Ohio since 1994.  Young people ages 12-20 are able to access peer support, mentorship, hot meals, recreation, leadership opportunities, health and wellness education, life-skills development and arts programming five days per week in a space that is fun, safe and affirming of their identities.   The grant supports the Operation: Home Is Where the Heart Is campaign to help underwrite Kaleidoscope’s first move in over ten years. The new space at 603 East Town Street will accommodate current programming with room for growth, and is twice the square footage as before.  A community conference room in the new center will bear the Kiwanis Club of Columbus name.
The YMCA of Central Ohio is the largest provider of day camp in the Columbus area and will use its $30,000 Centennial grant to upgrade its lodge and renovate its high and low ropes courses. Located at the Hoover YMCA Park, the lodge is a 2,500-square-foot building which is only able to be used for six months of the year because of the lack of heating and air conditioning.  This grant will add heating and cooling equipment to this structure to allow the Y to have a greater impact on the youth in the community by extending the use of this performance space for teen bands and youth theatre. In addition, on rainy days at camp, the children will have a safe haven from the elements. The Adventure Area will be renovated in order to continue to draw people to the Park for team-building and teen camp. This grant will be used for capital improvements that will serve more than 2,000 children each year at Hoover. The Y will recognize the adventure area as the Hoover Y - Kiwanis Club of Columbus Adventure Area.

Kiwanis Club of Columbus is a 150-member service organization dedicated to changing the world, one community and one child at a time.  Kiwanis International was founded in 1915 and Kiwanis Club of Columbus, the fifth oldest club in the world, was founded in 1916.  The club and its foundation, Columbus Kiwanis Foundation, have been supporting worthy causes focusing on youth in the Columbus community throughout its history.  In fact, Kiwanis Club of Columbus is credited with helping to found two well-known organizations in its early years: the Ohio Highway Patrol and the American BoyChoir (which began in Columbus and moved to Princeton, NJ). 

Currently, through its foundation, Kiwanis Club of Columbus awards approximately $80,000 a year, including $20,000 in scholarships to deserving Columbus City Schools students, provides significant sponsorship funding for the Columbus Metropolitan Library Summer Reading Program, and supports many other organizations with volunteer and grant support.


May is Water Safety Month



May is Water Safety Month and as the nation’s largest operator of swimming pools, the Y gives more than 1 million children a year the skills they need to be safe in and around water.

Drowning is a serious threat to the health and well-being of people across the U.S., particularly children and minorities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 4 to 14, and the rate of drowning for African-American children is nearly three times the rate for white children.

Teaching a child how to swim and be safe around water is one of the most important life skills children can learn.  Swim Lessons at the Y are designed to teach personal water safety, stroke development, water sports and games, rescue and personal growth skills to children. 

Now is the time to make sure children are prepared to be safe around the water. Speak with our staff about helping children develop this important life skill. In addition, caregivers can ensure everyone stays safe around the water with these tips:
Never leave children unattended, and stay vigilant when around any body of water.
Designate a “Water Watcher” to supervise children around water. This person should not read, use a cellphone or be otherwise distracted.
Inexperienced and non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket around water.
Children should stay away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
Children and adults should not engage in breath-holding activities.

Kroger Community Rewards

It’s time to re-enroll for the new year of Kroger Community Rewards. Participants need to re-enroll in the month of April in order to continue contributing to the organization through the May 1st 2016 to April 30th 2017 year.

For a participant to re-enroll their card they simply go to www.krogercommunityrewards.com
·         Click “sign-in”
·         Put in your email address and password that you used to enroll their card.
·         Click on your name at the top right, scroll to the bottom for Community Rewards.
·         Put in the group number or part of the name of the organization.
·         Choose the correct organization.
·         Click Enroll.
You are now enrolled for the May 1st 2016 to April 30th 2017 year of Kroger Community Rewards.

If you are having an issue with your password and or email address please 1-800-KROGERS, press 5 for customer service, press 5 to speak to a customer service representative.

If it’s the first time you are registering, you will need to set up your account first.
·         For a member to enroll their card the simply go to http://www.krogercommunityrewards.com
·         Click “create an account”
·         Put in your email address and password.  Confirm your password
·         Enter plus card OR alt ID number
·         Go to Community Rewards (near bottom)
·         Follow through the steps. (Name, address, etc.)
·         Put in the group number or part of the name of the organization.
·         Choose the correct organization.
·         Click Enroll.
You are now enrolled for the May 1st 2016 to April 30th 2017 year of Kroger Community Reward

Board Member Hal Keller To Receive Homeport ‘Voice and Vision’ Award

Hal Keller To Receive Homeport ‘Voice & Vision’ Award


Columbus, OH -- Citing his 35-year commitment to the practical needs of families and seniors, Homeport will be honoring Hall of Fame affordable housing advocate and non-profit financier Hal Keller at its second annual “Voice & Vision” program on Oct. 13.

“The Homeport ‘Voice & Vision’ Award that Hal will be receiving honors individuals who have provided extraordinary commitment and dedication to the cause of affordable housing,” said Homeport Board of Directors Chair Chris Hune.

“Hal has made it his focus for more than 30 years to support not only Homeport’s mission, but other housing organizations and we are proud to recognize the impact he has made in Central Ohio as well as around the region,” Hune added.

Keller has been president of Columbus-based Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing since 1993.


An independent non-profit organization, OCCH has raised more than $3.5 billion for Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects involving more than 725 transactions and 40,000 homes in Ohio and Kentucky.


Keller has been with OCCH since its inception in 1989, serving first as Director of Development.


Under Keller’s leadership, OCCH has also developed affiliated property management and supportive services organizations, Community Properties of Ohio Management Services (CPO), a lending subsidiary, Ohio Capital Finance Corporation, a certified Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), and philanthropic arm, Ohio Capital Impact Corporation (OCIC).


In 2014, Keller was inducted into the national Affordable Housing Finance’s Housing Hall of Fame.


Bruce Luecke, Homeport’s Interim President & CEO, called Keller “unmatched” in raising awareness to the needs of low to moderate income people -- and in effectively tackling the financial side of making a difference.

“We look forward to recognizing and celebrating Hal’s achievements,” Luecke said.


Keller said he treasures the honor and the work Homeport has been able to accomplish in its 29-year existence.

“I am humbled that Homeport has chosen me to receive this year’s Voice & Vision Award. Homeport is a critical organization with a long history of community impact and service,” Keller said. “I am truly honored.”


Keller serves on the boards of a variety of organizations including the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, YMCA of Central Ohio, Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio Housing Council, Habitat for Humanity of Ohio and PACT (Partners Achieving Community Transformation). He also serves on the boards of several national affordable housing trade associations.

He holds Master of Arts degrees in both Public Administration and Social Work from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Social Science from Case Western Reserve University.

Keller will receive Homeport’s Voice & Vision award at the fall program to be held at St. Charles Preparatory School’s Walter Commons, 2010 E. Broad Street in Columbus.

Sponsorship opportunities for the Voice & Vision Award Celebration are available by contacting Homeport’s Director of Philanthropy, Julie Naporano, at Julie.Naporano@homeportohio.org or visiting homeportohio.org/sponsor.

Doing Good With Technology: HMB and ECRN+

HMB recently had the opportunity to partner with the YMCA's Early Childhood Resource Network (ECRN+) by donating a fleet of laptops to their organization.

"The team at ECRN+ is extremely grateful for the generous laptop donation from HMB," says Samantha Stewart, Executive Director for ECRN+. "This donation will enable our staff to continue to provide exemplary services to children with disabilities and their families. For over 30 years, ECRN+ has provided services to children who have disabilities or those who are at risk of disabilities and their families."

"Staff members from three different programs will be utilizing the computers; our Community Support Site program (a speech therapy program for children 18 months to three years of age), our Family Support Program (provides family support to children, teens, and young adults with disabilities and their families), and our Help Me Grow program (a birth to three home visitation program for children with delays, disabilities, and special health care needs)." 

ECRN+ provides Service Coordination for Help Me Grow of Franklin County, Columbus Kids Outreach, SPARK (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids) as well as Family Support for families and children of all ages who have disabilities and a speech therapy program for children.

"ECRN+ was founded in 1983 as a coalition of thirty agencies/organizations and parent representatives who were involved in providing services for young children, birth through five, who had developmental delays, disabilities, or who were at risk for such," continues Stewart. "Now, 30 years later, the primary goal is the same; we empower and connect families. Thank you HMB for helping us empower and connect our families!"

Healthy Kids Day April 30th

On Saturday, April 30, the YMCA of Central Ohio is celebrating YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day®, the Y’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of families. Healthy Kids Day will include fun active play and educational activities to keep kids moving and learning, in order to maintain healthy habits and academic skills to achieve goals and reach their full potential. Millions of children and their families are expected to participate in Healthy Kids at nearly 1,600 events across the country.

Join us April 30 at your local branch for fun activities for the kids and family!

PLUS Pay $0 Join Fee if you join in-branch... this weekend only!

Click to jump to your branch's activities:

Delaware Community Center YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 8:30a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Activities: 8:30-11:30 a.m.

  • Martial Arts Demonstration
  • Family Zumba
  • Bounce House
  • Bike Rodeo
  • Swim Evaluations
  • Touch a Truck
  • Blood Drive
  • Free bike helmets
  • Fitness Checks
  • 5k/Mile Run/Walk
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    -Fire Department
    -Police Department
    -DATA Bus
    -Delaware County of Developmental Disabilities
    -Ohio Healthy
    -Advanced Eye Care
    -Ruffing Martial Arts
    -Dr. Batterton Dentistry
    -Preservation Parks
    -Ohio Corps of Engineers

Activities: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Dental Wellness Checks
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Face Painting
  • Flower Planting
  • Swim Evaluations

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Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Activities: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Mascots
  • Lego Table
  • Obstacle Course
  • Bounce House
  • Camp Willson: Live animals
  • Family Zumba
  • Kid’s Run
  • Gaga Pit
  • Face Painting
  • Rock Climbing
  • Urban Grow for Kids Project
  • Clark Hall: Prenatal Mommy and Me Yoga
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - Gahanna Fire and Police Department
    - Smoothie King
    - 104.9 the River Radio
    - Nothing Bundt Cakes
    - Lynd’s Fruit Farm
    - DoTerra Essential Oils
    - Discovery Toys
    -Young Chef Academy
    -Cookie Cutters

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Grove City YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Activities: 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Obstacle Course
  • Camp Willson Horses
  • Climbing Wall
  • Swim Evaluations
  • Grove City Library
  • Vendors
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    -Grove City Library
    -Dental Place
    -Columbus Blue Jackets

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Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Activities: 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Hilliard Bradley Boys Soccer Team
  • Family Gym Fun
  • Boat Safety
  • Track and Field
  • Fitness Obstacles
  • Sensory Table
  • Healthy Eating Booth
  • Face Paint
  • Games

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Hilltop YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Activities: 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Bike Safety
  • Bike helmet giveaway
  • Vendors
    -OSU Extension

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Jerry L. Garver YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 2:00-5:00 p.m.

Activities: 2:00-5:00 p.m.

  • Book WALK! (like a cake walk)
  • Challenge Stations
  • Hula Hoop Shake Off
  • Swim Evaluations
  • Egg Race
  • STEM Spaghetti Towers
  • Egg Drop
  • Y Kids are Fit Obstacle Course
  • Face Painting / Clown
  • Inflatables:
    -Small Bounce House
    -BIG Basketball
    -Big Bowling
  • Nature Scavenger Hunt
  • Sensory Friendly Nature Hunt
  • Animal Tracking
  • Community Cook Out Sponsored by Cameron Mitchell's The Barn & Krogers
  • Bob's Bike Safety
  • Flower Planting
  • Music Makers: Making maracas & drums
  • Reptile: Touch & learn
  • Painting with Veggies!
  • Box Arcade!
  • Raffle Baskets & Kid Swag give a ways
  • Local Businesses and vendors:
    -Cameron Mitchell's The Barn
    -Kroger's Corp. & Canal Winchester
    -Local Matters
    -Wayne Webb Bowling
    -Franklin County Children Services
    -Columbus Fire Department
    -Once Upon A Child
    -Columbus Health Department
    -Bari Foundation
    -Diley Ridge Medical Center
    -Tyler's Light
    -Pickerington Library
    -Small Smiles Dental
    -Tropical Fruit & Nut
    -Dill's GreenHouse
    -The Wave
    -Zion Assembly
    -Colony Cats
    -Lion's Club Eye Screening
    -Captive Born Reptiles

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Liberty Twp./Powell YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Activities: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Camp Willson (pony rides)
  • Preservation Parks of Delaware County bring live animals (reptiles and amphibians)
  • Blue Jackets Street Hockey
  • Zumba, PLYOGA, Circuit Training, Yoga
  • Olentangy Liberty Cheerleading Team
  • Facepaint
  • Treehive Cafe
  • Kiwanis Club of Powell (seat safety checks)
  • OPAL Art Sigmound
  • Lightsaber Relay Races
  • Lakeshore (craft table)
  • Fun Games

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North YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Activities: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Bounce house
  • Health screenings
  • Field games
  • Touch a truck
  • YMCA Camp Willson
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - All Nations Seventh Day Adventist Church
    - REI
    - Fresh n' Fit Foodlab

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Pickaway County Family YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Activities: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Flower Planting
  • Face Painting
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - Circleville City Police
    - Ohio State Highway Patrol
    - Pickaway Co. Sheriff's office
    - Circleville Fire Dept.
    - Columbus Blue Jackets

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Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Activities: 12:00-4:00 p.m.

  • Bounce House
  • Crafts
  • Snacks
  • Swim Evaluations
  • Willson Horses
  • Fire & Police Vehicles/Visits
  • Kids' Zumba
  • Kids' Martial Art
  • Community Vendors
  • Games

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Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA

FREE Swim Evaluations: 1:00-2:20 p.m.

Activities: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

  • Family Fitness Feud
  • 3 on 3 Basketball
  • Bouncy House
  • T-Ball
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Face Paint
  • Fitness Demos
  • Dodgeball
  • Obstacles
  • Snacks
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - Fire Department
    - Local Maters
    - Columbus Library MLK Branch
    - Natural Care Youth Center
    - Paramount Health Care
    - OSU Med Students
    - Local Matters
    - Central Community House

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New Medicare Proposal Announced To Aid The Fight Against Diabetes

The Obama administration announced today in a special press conference in Washington, D.C., a plan to expand Medicare to cover programs that prevent diabetes among people at high risk for developing the disease, which includes the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. 

The Diabetes Prevention Program provides a supportive environment where participants can work with others in a small group setting to learn how to adopt healthy habits to reduce their chances of developing the disease. In this evidence based, 12 week program, participants learn about healthy eating and increasing their physical activity, with the goal of reducing their body weight by 7% and increasing their physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

“It will truly change your life,” said Tim Gusler, a YMCA of Central Ohio Diabetes Prevention Program participant. “I lost about 75 pounds. It will make you healthier. I feel better; I have energy!”

Watch more of Tim's story here.

Under the proposed plan, Medicare would cover a participant's fee for participating in the program.  The Diabetes Prevention Program is offered at all YMCA of Central Ohio Branches and begins with 16 weekly sessions followed by monthly sessions led by a trained Lifestyle Coach.

The proposal will go through a public commitment period, but it will most likely be in effect before the end of President Obama’s term. This proposal is an extension of the Affordable Care Act. Details of how the diabetes prevention services will be paid for have not yet been released, however it could come through reimbursements to providers, or as a part of a package, including the services of doctors who diagnose and monitor diabetes patients. The exact details will be released by Medicare officials.

To learn more about the proposal, visit http://nyti.ms/21HkVF2

To learn more about the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, visit http://www.ymcacolumbus.org/diabetes


Diabetes Alert Day

Reduce Risk of Diabetes on Diabetes Alert Day

Tuesday, March 22, is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, and the YMCA of Central Ohio wants residents of Columbus to know their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as preventive steps they can take today to reduce the chances of developing the disease.

The Y knows that the best way to reduce new cases of type 2 diabetes is to prevent them and awareness is the first step to prevention. With only 10 percent of the 86 million Americans aware of their condition, the YMCA of Central Ohio understands that it will take everyone working together to increase this number.

In the United States alone, diabetes affects nearly 29 million people. Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes, yet only about 9 million are aware of it. These statistics are alarming, and the impact on the cost of health care and overall well-being of our communities makes preventing the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes more important than ever before.

The YMCA of Central Ohio’s Diabetes Prevention Program is helping people make healthier choices that can help reduce the risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. The program provides a supportive environment where participants work with each other in a small group setting to learn how to adopt healthy habits to reduce chances of developing diabetes. Participants learn about healthy eating and increasing their physical activity, with the goal of reducing their body weight by 7% and increasing their physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

Some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and an increased focus on healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

• Reduce portion sizes of the foods you eat that may be high in fat or calories.
• Keep a food diary to increase awareness of eating patterns and behaviors.
• Be active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
• Incorporate more activity into your daily routine; take the stairs or park farther away
• Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
To learn more about the YMCA of Central Ohio’s Diabetes Prevention Program, please visithttp://www.ymcacolumbus.org/diabetes.

OhioHealth Delay the Disease Parkinson’s Exercise Program

Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year and as many as one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

As a leading community-based network committed to improving the nation’s health, the YMCA of Central Ohio has partnered with OhioHealth to bring OhioHealth Delay the Disease, the number one Parkinson’s exercise program, to three branch locations.

This evidence-based fitness program, led by a certified OhioHealth Delay the Disease instructor, is designed to empower people with Parkinson’s disease.  The class optimizes physical function while utilizing humor, optimism, enthusiasm and hope to help motivate participants.

After participating in the program, participants will have increased self-confidence, decreased risk of falls and minimized fatigue.  The goal of the program is to give participants a happier lifestyle with reduced rigidity and improved mobility.

Beginning Monday, March 14, the program will be offered at The Y at Clark Hall, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. and the Delaware Community Center YMCA, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 1:00-2:00 p.m.  Beginning Monday, May 31, the program will also be offered at the Grove City YMCA, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

The program will be offered as a nine week session with a cost of $90 for members and $135 for non-members.  For more information, contact the branch representative at your preferred location. 

For The Y at Clark Hall contact Valerie Baumann at 614-416-9622 or vbaumann@ymcacolumbus.org

For the Delaware Community Center YMCA, contact Amy Mosser at 740-203-3051 or amosser@ymcacolumbus.org.

For the Grove City YMCA, contact Angie Jordan at 614-871-9622 or ajordan@ymcacolumbus.org.

Free Guests for Members in March

Members-only: FREE Guests ANY Weekend in March!
YMCA members may use one guest pass for FREE any Saturday or Sunday in March.

All guests must comply with YMCA of Central Ohio Guest Conditions.

Eligible Memberships
» Two Adults + Kids
» One Adult + Kids
» Two Adults
» Adult
» Young Adult

1 Free Guest Pass per visit
Family: up to 5 people, 2 adults max
Senior: age 62+
Adult: ages 18-61
Youth: age 17 and younger


$25 in Y Bucks when your guest joins (for your guest, too!)

Y Bucks* will be added to both the new and current member's account electronically and may be used toward:
» Personal Training
» Water Exercise Class
» Swim Lessons
» Special Events
» Art and Dance Classes
» Skill Builders Class
» Youth Sports League
» Join Fee

March is National Nutrition Month

Focus on Healthy Eating During National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition month and as a leading community-based network committed to improving the nation’s health, the YMCA of Central Ohio urges everyone in Columbus to dedicate to a healthy lifestyle by being health conscious this month and every month.

According to the National Academy of Nutrition and Diuretics, National Nutrition Month is a nutrition and education plan focused on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.  Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents the past 30 years.  The need to become educated about healthy food choices is at an all-time high.

To address the prevalence of childhood obesity, the Y has made a commitment to helping children and their parents develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle through different programs like Strong-Well-Fit and Healthy Weight and Your Child.  Because healthy lifestyles are achieved through nurturing mind, body and spirit, fitness at the YMCA includes more than just working out.

Strong-Well-Fit is a free, twelve week program that helps youth and teens and their parents make lifestyle changes to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.  Families will learn about nutrition and healthy food choices, exercise and play active games, and achieve goals of a healthier lifestyle.  Each class will include forty-five minutes of physical activity for both children and parents, and forty five minutes working on healthy nutrition and activities.

Healthy Weight and Your Child addresses childhood obesity in youth ages 7-13 with a body mass index of 95th percentiles or higher.  This 12 month evidence based program is for children with obesity and their parents to empower families to live healthier.  Family members are engaged in education, healthy eating and physical activity to elicit change positive change and help families learn skills to live a healthier lifestyle long-term.

The YMCA of Central Ohio offers a community of diverse individuals who can support all people in meeting their health and well-being goals.  Learn more by visiting http://www.ymcacolumbus.org/ or stopping into your local Y. 

February is American Heart Month

Lower the (Blood) Pressure during American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month and as a leading community-based network committed to improving the nation’s health, the YMCA of Central Ohio urges everyone in Columbus to help prevent heart disease by lowering your blood pressure. Two ways to keep the pressure off your heart are by monitoring your blood pressure and reducing sodium intake.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the nation’s number one killer, responsible for 1 in 4 deaths each year in the United States. Additionally, 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure with less than half having it under control. High blood pressure is most prevalent in minority communities, and is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.

To address the prevalence of heart disease, the Y has made a national commitment to the Million Hearts campaign, an initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, that aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes.  As part of this commitment, the YMCA of Central Ohio encourages heart health through the Diabetes Prevention Program. 

The YMCA of Central Ohio is increasing the availability of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program – which is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program.  The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps adults at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles to help reduce their chances of developing the disease. Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or suffer a stroke as those who do not have it.

The program provides a supportive environment where participants work together in a small group to learn about eating healthier, increasing their physical activity and making other behavior changes with the goal of reducing body weight by 7 percent in order to reduce their risk for developing diabetes. A trained lifestyle coach leads the program over a 12-month period beginning with 16 weekly sessions followed by monthly maintenance sessions.  Increased physical activity and moderate weight loss not only reduce diabetes risk, but also have an impact on lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

Besides monitoring your blood pressure, reducing sodium intake is a great way to keep your heart healthy. According to the American Heart Association, too much sodium in your system puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. In some people, this may lead to or raise high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Having less sodium in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure.

“Having a handle on your blood pressure is an effective tool in the prevention of heart disease,” said Caroline Rankin, director of chronic disease and prevention programs. “Whether you have high blood pressure or are at risk for heart disease, the Y has many options available that can help.”

The YMCA of Central Ohio offers a community of diverse individuals who can support all people in meeting their health and well-being goals.   

Gahanna Welcomes New Multi-Purpose Boutique Studio


Gahanna Welcomes New Multi-Purpose Boutique Studio

The YMCA of Central Ohio, in partnership with Gahanna Jefferson Public Schools and Franklin University opens new, innovative facility for the community.

WHO: Representatives from the Gahanna Jefferson School District, the Gahanna Chamber of Commerce, Franklin University’s President, David Decker and Mayor Thomas Kneeland, YMCA of Central Ohio’s President and CEO, Stephen Ives

WHAT: The YMCA of Central Ohio is pleased to announce the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of its first boutique-style studio - the Y at Clark Hall. The new facility will provide unique experiences for the Gahanna community including:

  • Small group fitness
  • Educational-based wellness programming for youth, teens and adults
  • Youth and teen STEM and technology programs
  • Adult education courses provided by Franklin University
  • Franklin University reunites with the YMCA who helped launch the
  • University in 1902

WHEN: Saturday, January 9, 2016

9:30 a.m.- Ribbon Cutting followed by a community open house from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

WHERE: The Y at Clark Hall

380 Granville Street, Suite B

Gahanna, OH 43230

WHY: Through a unique collaboration, innovative offerings and unparalleled services, the Y at Clark Hall will provide an array of opportunities for all ages, all under the same roof.

CONTACT: Valerie Baumann: (cell) 614-532-0998 or vbaumann@ymcacolumbus.org

More Information (PDF)

Media Alert

Construction Underway on Unique Early Childhood Education Center

Construction Underway on Unique Early Childhood Education Center

Community partners, KIPP and YMCA of Central Ohio unite to open new Early Learning Center at Agler Road campus

[COLUMBUS, JANUARY 6, 2016] KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Columbus and the YMCA of Central Ohio announces the opening of the KIPP/YMCA Early Learning Center. The new center for children ages 6 weeks to 6 years will open by September, 2016 on the KIPP campus in Northeast Columbus.

KIPP is a national network of free, open enrollment college preparatory public schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and life. KIPP Columbus debuted its new campus in 2014 with a facility, currently serving 800 students. This will increase that to 2000 by the end of the decade with the addition of several new buildings, including a high school and the Early Learning Center.

“We are committed to helping our students climb the mountain to and through college,” said KIPP Columbus Executive Director Hannah Powell. “Research has shown that the early childhood years are absolutely critical in laying the foundation for success, and we believe that we are in a unique position to provide an enriching environment and high-quality preK opportunities for our community. To be able to partner with an organization like the YMCA which shares similar missions and goals, will be incredibly transformational.”

The YMCA is the area’s largest provider of child care and early learning programs, serving over 4,500 chidren annually at 70 centers in central Ohio. “One of five major pillars of Y work, childhood development and educational achievement is a critical program and a growing program at the YMCA, says President/CEO Stephen Ives. At the Y, strengthening community is our cause. We believe that lasting personal and social change can only come about when we all work together to invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors.”

The new school will offer numerous advantages to its students, including spacious classrooms with natural light, access to innovative technology, natural play spaces, and robust programming with best-inclass educators. The center will be open to KIPP families and the public, with a lottery for admission scheduled for February 2016. When fully enrolled at 140 children, the KIPP/YMCA Early Learning Center will be the YMCA’s largest early learning program.

For more information on enrolling in the school, please visit the KIPP website at http://kippcolumbus.org/ or call the administrative offive at 614-263-6137.

More Information (PDF)

Press Release

Request for Proposals To Provide Monitoring Services

The YMCA is soliciting proposals to provide monitoring of service providers that used federal grant funds including Head Start Act funds. The objective of the monitoring is to assess the degree that subcontracted programs comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies and administrative requirements of the funding source. The goal is to ensure the lawful use of public funds and the integrity of the programs of YMCA.

This solicitation is to result in a contract for the monitoring services with YMCA options for two separate one year renewals.


More Information (PDF)

Request for Proposals To Provide Monitoring Services

Prepare for Back-to-School Season: Power Up with Restful Sleep

The back-to-school season can be a busy time of year as we adjust to new routines and make time for homework, afterschool activities and new friends. As you and your family rearrange your schedules to squeeze it all in, don’t forget to make time for a basic but critical component of good health — sleep!

Restful sleep is proven to have important short- and long-term health benefits for children and adults. It plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy metabolism and immune system, improving memory and the ability to learn, and more. Getting enough restful sleep can enrich your family’s quality of life and overall well-being. With these helpful tips for kids and adults, your family will be getting plenty of rest in no time.

Bedtime Means Lights Out: Stick to a consistent bedtime and avoid allowing kids to watch TV or read until they fall asleep.
Establish a Routine: Adopt a relaxing routine to help children wind down before bed. It might include getting a drink of water, putting on pajamas, brushing their teeth and reading a story with a parent.
Mind the Over-Scheduling: Remember that if kids don’t get the rest they need one night because of a busy schedule, they can “catch up” by getting extra rest later on.

Watch When You Eat: Prepare your body and mind for better sleep by eating dinner at least two hours before bedtime and avoiding overeating.
Don’t Clock-Watch: Avoid watching the clock if you’re unable to fall asleep. Instead, get out of bed and divert your attention until you feel drowsy. Try reading a book or listening to music.
Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment: Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, cool and comfortable, and limit the times that you allow kids or pets to sleep with you.

Incoming President and CEO Stephen Ives Speaks During Community Impact Breakfast

On Wednesday, June 24, the YMCA of Central Ohio celebrated our community partnerships during the Community Impact Breakfast at the Columbus Foundation. About 80 individuals, including YMCA of Central Ohio board members, representatives from partner organizations, YMCA donors, staff and supporters, gathered to share stories of members impacted by the Y movement.

Incoming YMCA of Central Ohio President and CEO Stephen Ives attended and provided remarks at the event. A native of Maine, Stephen comes to Central Ohio with 27 years of service to the YMCA movement, including 20 years as a CEO. He most recently served as President and CEO of the Merrimack Valley YMCA in Lawrence, MA. At the event, Ives spoke about his personal experiences with the YMCA and shared his love for working with children and teens.

Ives started his career in aquatics and youth programming at the Portland, Maine YMCA. He developed programs for teen fathers and at risk youth in the inner city while leading camping and youth recreation initiatives before relocating to the Northern York County Family YMCA in Biddeford, Maine.

"I am both impressed and inspired by the depth of social impact work being done by the YMCA of Central Ohio in the form of subsidized housing, early childhood education, truancy initiatives and support for children with special needs," stated Ives. "It is a sincere honor to have the opportunity to build upon that rich history of service to the community and in partnership with the Board of Directors, making sure that the YMCA is so much more for the citizens of Central Ohio.”

Ives will officially assume his role with the YMCA of Central July 6, 2015. Click here to view photographs from the Community Impact Breakfast.

New Program: Healthy Weight and Your Child

Reclaim your family’s health through healthier eating habits and an active lifestyle through Healthy Weight and Your Child. The YMCA of Central Ohio is one of five Ys participating nationally in a pilot program to address childhood obesity in youth ages 7-13, with a body mass index of 95th percentiles or higher. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness. The program is for the children and their families and will be offered at the following YMCA of Central Ohio locations: 

  • Delaware Community Center YMCA
  • Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA
  • Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA
  • Grove City YMCA
  • Liberty Township/Powell YMCA

Important Program Details and Qualifications:

  • A 12 month evidenced-based program for children with obesity and their parent/caregiver.
  • 16 weekly sessions, 4 bi-weekly sessions and 5 monthly sessions.
  • 2 hour sessions one time per week focusing on nutrition education and physical activity to encourage healthier eating habits and an active lifestyle.
  • Children must be 7 - 13 years old and have a body mass index of the 95th percentile or higher.
  • Children must qualify for the program and receive medical clearance from their healthcare provider.
  • The parent/caregiver must attend all sessions.
  • No cost for participation in the one year pilot program.
  • Classes starting in September 2015.

For more information about the program and contact/location details, please review the attached brochure. 

More Information (PDF)

Healthy Weight and Your Child Brochure

60 minutes of exercise a day = Active, Healthy Family

More than 80 percent of children in the U.S. do not get the recommended amount of physical activity for good health—60 minutes a day, six days a week. It is important for children and families to make good use of extra free time during the summer by increasing the frequency and duration of physical activity and limiting screen time. 

At the Y, we support the health and well-being of people of all ages and backgrounds with programs and services that help them develop healthy lifestyles. Speak with your YMCA staff about how the Y can help you
and your family stay physically active all summer long. Also, consider other ways you can get up and get moving together. Here are a few ideas:

Have a Ball:
Tossing a football or hitting the tennis courts is a great way to engage kids in physical activity while squeezing in some family time. Or try going out to the backyard or a park with your kids and keeping a beach ball up in the air for as long as possible. Even throwing a baseball back and forth will send you jogging to recover the ball from time to time.

Add Some Wheels:
Most activities that incorporate the use of wheels—like riding scooters or skateboarding—offer a mix of vigorous activity and periods of rest. Get your helmets on and take a bike ride as a family. Plot your course so you have to tackle small hills or ride into the wind part of the way.

Walk, Jog or Run:
Find a community event such as a fundraising walk or fun run that the entire family can enjoy. Setting a family goal tied to such an event can provide the motivation you need to stay active. Also, July is Parks and Recreation Month, so it is a perfect time to visit a nearby park and take advantage of walking or biking trails.

Summer Food Program Helps Kids Hop the Gap

At the Y, we believe all children and teens deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. Yet for some youth, hunger is a barrier to success. Today in the U.S., nearly one in five households with children does not have enough food. During the summer, access to healthy meals can be an even greater challenge for kids who receive free or reduced-price lunch during the school year. As a leading nonprofit for strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y provides kids with the fuel to reach their full potential.

Through the Summer Food Program—incorporated into other programs like camp—the Y delivers healthy meals and snacks to nourish the minds and bodies of kids in need.

Since 2011, the Walmart Foundation has partnered with the Y in the fight to end child hunger. The foundation’s generous support during the past four years has helped the Y serve more than 34 million meals to youth in afterschool and summer programs. The reach of this work grows each year, and this summer alone the Y aims to provide 4.25 million meals to 180,000 kids at 1,100 sites. Locally in Central Ohio, we continue to expand our reach and provide meals and snacks to children:

Summer 2014
Sites - 8 
Kids Served – 1,608
Meals - 31,050 (Breakfast and Lunch)
Snacks – 6,892

School Year 2015
Sites - 26
Kids Served - 756
Meals - 64,026 (Supper)
Snacks - 22,747

The Y provides support and programs that help youth overcome challenges related to hunger, health, learning, water safety and access to safe spaces. To learn how children and teens overcome barriers—or hop the gap—to achieve more with the Y, visit hopthegap.org. Click here to view our Summer Food Program sites throughout Central Ohio. 

Bottled Water Needed

The YMCA of Central is working in collaboration with the Community Shelter Board and Volunteers of America to manage a family overflow program at the new Van Buren Center. The family shelter is being opened in response to a 79% increase over the course of the past three years, in the number of families seeking shelter.

Last night, the Van Buren Center provided a safe place to sleep for 34 families. These families were comprised of 110 individuals, including 67 children and 164 single adult women, 6 of whom are pregnant. Given the current water alert, the YMCA is in need of bottled water for families with infants less than 6 months of age and pregnant or nursing mothers. In addition, the bottled water is being used to prepare meals at the shelter to minimize any risk.

The community has been very caring with donations of items since the Center opened and we appreciate their continued support during this time. If able to donate, please bring bottled water to the Downtown YMCA, located at 40 W. Long Street. Thank you!

Meet our New President and CEO Stephen Ives


On behalf of the YMCA of Central Ohio Metropolitan Board of Directors and the Executive Search Committee, we are pleased to announce that Stephen Ives has accepted the position of President and CEO for the Association. His first official day with the YMCA of Central Ohio was July 6, 2015.

A native of Maine, Stephen comes to Central Ohio with 27 years of service to the YMCA movement, including 20 years as a CEO. He is currently serving as President and CEO of the Merrimack Valley YMCA in Lawrence, MA.
Ives started his career in aquatics and youth programming at the Portland, Maine YMCA. He developed programs for teen fathers and at risk youth in the inner city while leading camping and youth recreation initiatives before relocating to the Northern York County Family YMCA in Biddeford, Maine

In 2005, Stephen was recruited to become President and CEO of the Merrimack Valley YMCA. The Merrimack Valley Association has long been recognized as a national leader in innovation and entrepreneurship as well as academic initiatives, partnerships and global initiatives for diversity and inclusion.

"I am both impressed and inspired by the depth of social impact work being done by the YMCA of Central Ohio in the form of subsidized housing, early childhood education, truancy initiatives and support for children with special needs," stated Ives. "It is a sincere honor to have the opportunity to build upon that rich history of service to the community and in partnership with the Board of Directors, making sure that the YMCA is so much more for the citizens of Central Ohio.”

YMCA raised more than $70,000 during The Big Give

The results are in! Thanks to your generosity, the YMCA of Central Ohio was able to raise $72,133 in 24 hours during The Columbus Foundation's The Big Give. This generosity will truly help us do so much more for the central Ohio community!

The Big Give took place May 12-May 13 and raised more than $15 million dollars for Columbus nonprofits.

Thank you to all who participated and designated the YMCA of Central Ohio as your charity of choice.

Discovering Potential: Youth & Government

More than 140 YMCA young leaders took place in Youth & Government April 16-18, a three-day learning conference in which students participate directly in a simulation of the democratic process.

YIG offers students the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of issues, develop critical thinking skills, and articulate their beliefs while engaging constructively with those who hold like and opposing views.

Thank you to those who supported this program and helped to create brighter futures!

Staff Spotlight: Stephanie Riffle

Stephanie and teen campers at Liberty Twp/Powell YMCA last summer.

Stephanie Riffle, a long-time YMCA site director in the Olentangy School District, challenged her parents and kids in her before and after care site to help send kids to camp. Using a peer to peer fundraising page and making it easy for parents to give online, she raised more than $1,000.00 in support of sending kids to camp who otherwise may not have the opportunity to do so. Way to go Stephanie, and thank you for your dedication to the Y!

Summer Food Program

For ages 1-18, Monday-Friday

Join the Y for food and fun to keep active and energized all summer long!

  • No enrollment necessary
  • Free of charge
  • Includes 1 hour of physical activity

Click here for printable information.

Available at these sites


130 Woodland Ave., Columbus, OH  43203

  • 8:30 - 9:00AM (breakfast)
  • 12:00 - 12:30PM (lunch)


2879 Valleyview Dr., Columbus, OH  43204

  • 12:15 - 1:00PM (lunch)
  • 3:30 - 4:00PM (snack)

2345 W. Mound St., Columbus, OH  43204

  • 12:00 - 12:45PM (lunch)
  • 3:00 - 3:30PM (snack)

4711 Bay Run Dr., Columbus, OH  43228

Starts June 15

  • 8:30 - 9:00AM (breakfast)
  • 12:00 - 12:45PM (lunch)


1640 Sandalwood Pl., Columbus, OH  43229

  • 8:30 - 9:30AM (breakfast)
  • 11:30AM - 12:30PM (lunch)


3500 1st. Ave., Urbancrest, OH  43123

  • 9:15 - 9:45AM (breakfast)
  • 12:15 - 1:15PM (lunch)


440 Nicholas Dr., Circleville, OH  43113

  • 11:30AM - 12:30PM (lunch)


145 E. Corwin St., Circleville, OH  43113

  • 11:30AM - 12:30PM (lunch)


455 Beechwood Rd., Whitehall, OH  43213

  • 8:00 - 8:30AM (breakfast)
  • 11:30AM - 12:00PM (lunch)

4800 Langley Ave., Whitehall, OH  43123

  • 8:00 - 8:30AM (breakfast)
  • 11:30AM - 12:00PM (lunch)

675 S. Yearling Rd., Whitehall, OH  43123

  • 7:30 - 9:00AM (breakfast)
  • 11:30AM - 12:30PM (lunch)


Nutritious meals and snacks provided as part of the USDA Summer Food Service program.

This program is generously supported by the Walmart Foundation and food is generously provided by Columbus Recreation and Parks at all sites except Pickaway County Family YMCA and Pickaway Head Start.

Pickaway County Family YMCA and Pickaway County Head Start's program is generously supported by Pickaway County Community Action (PICCA) and these programs' food is generously provided by Connie's Country Cafe in Williamsport, Ohio. 

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


Stephanie Cedeno

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

614-224-1137 ext. 187

More Information (PDF)

Printable information

Celebrating Fathers and Their Health

On the third Sunday of every June, we take time to honor and thank the fathers, grandfathers and male role models who brighten our lives and provide care and guidance that support strong families and strong communities. As you prepare to celebrate Father’s Day on June 21, show the important men in your life how much they mean to you by helping them adopt habits that promote long, healthy lives. 

At the Y, we help people improve their health and well-being and reduce their risk of chronic disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death among men in the U.S., but early detection and healthy habits that reduce risk factors can go a long way towards defying the odds. Take time during Men’s Health Week, June 15 – 21, to help men strengthen their health and well-being with these tips from the CDC:

Visit Your Doctor. Regular checkups can help diagnose health conditions before they become a problem. If men experience anything out of the ordinary like chest pain, shortness of breath or excessive thirst, they should see a doctor right away.
Quit Smoking. Quitting smoking has immediate and longterm health benefits that include lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer and lung disease.
Stay Active. For good health, adults need at least 2½ hours of aerobic activity a week and muscle strengthening activities that engage all major muscle groups at least twice a week.
Eat Healthy. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and limiting foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat and alcohol can help prevent chronic disease.
Reduce Stress. Severe stress that feels overwhelming can have negative effects on health. Lean on others for support.
Get Enough Sleep. A lack of sleep is associated with chronic diseases including heart disease. In general, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a day.

May is National Water Safety Month

As the nation’s largest operator of swimming pools, the Y gives more than 1 million children a year the skills they need to be safe around water.

Drowning is a serious threat to the health and well-being of people across the U.S., particularly children and minorities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the secondleading cause of death for children ages 4 to 14, and the rate of drowning for African-American children is nearly three times the rate for white children.

The Y is here to help. Through the recently launched Safety Around Water program, the Y aims to give children of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to develop the invaluable water safety skills that can keep them safe in and around water. These skills not only save lives, but they also help children build confidence in their abilities.

May is Water Safety Month and a good time to make sure children are prepared to be safe around the water. Speak with our staff about helping children develop this important life skill. In addition, caregivers can ensure everyone stays safe around the water with these tips:

Never leave children unattended, and stay vigilant when around any body of water.
Designate a “Water Watcher” to supervise children around water. This person should not read, use a cellphone or be otherwise distracted.
Inexperienced and non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket around water.
Children should stay away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
Children and adults should not engage in breath-holding activities.

Guest Policy Upgrades

We've upgraded our Guest Policy to now include FREE passes and reduce Guest Pass rates for some categories. Details at: ymcacolumbus.org/guests.

Link to Article


Healthy Kids Day

On Saturday, April 25, the YMCA of Central Ohio is celebrating YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day®, the Y’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of families. Healthy Kids Day will include fun active play and educational activities to keep kids moving and learning, in order to maintain healthy habits and academic skills to achieve goals and reach their full potential. Millions of children and their families are expected to participate in Healthy Kids at nearly 1,600 events across the country.

Join us April 25 at your local branch for fun activities for the kids and family. See what's going on at your branch below:

April 25, 2015

Delaware Community Center YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 9:00 a.m.-noon
Activities: 8:00-11:30 a.m.

  • Delaware City Schools 5K Run and Walk: 8:00 a.m.
  • Martial Arts Demonstration
  • Bounce House
  • Kid Fit Test
  • Family Zumba
  • YMCA Art projects
  • 9 Square in the Air game
  • Rock Wall will be open
  • Sports Personal Training
  • Learn about Mingo Day Camp
  • Face painting
  • Balloon Animals
  • Healthy Snacks
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    -Fire Department
    -Police Department
    -Delaware County Library
    -American Red Cross Blood Mobile
    -Delaware County Health District
    -Delaware County JFS
    -Preservation Parks
    -Delaware Chiropractic
    -YMCA Camp Willson
    -Delaware Parent's Club
    -Teen Leaders Club

Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: noon-1:00 p.m.
Activities: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Open Gymnastics
  • Open Climbing wall
  • Ballet Demo
  • Zumba Demo
  • Gahanna Library
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - First Watch
    - Dr. Pam Gant
    - Pamer Chiropractic
    - Polaris Mortgage
    - Red Cross
    - Smoothie King
    - Southern-Western Mortgage

Grove City YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Activities: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Open Climbing Wall
  • Open Gym
  • Open Swim
  • Class Demonstrations (Tae Kwon Do, sports, etc.)
  • Visit from YMCA Camp Willson and their furry friends
  • Obstacle Course
  • Local Organizations and Businesses

Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Activities: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

11:30 a.m. Walk, Wheel, Run with 10TV's Jeff Hogan  

Participants should gather at the gazebo by 11:20. Bring the entire family! Strollers, wheelchairs, bicycles, runners and walkers are all welcome! 

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Hop Skip and Jump game
  • Downward Dog game
  • Visit from YMCA Camp Willson and their furry friends
  • Dance It Off game
  • Go Around in Circles Hoola Hoop contest
  • Everybody Plays game
  • Healthy Taste Test Cooking Demonstrations
  • Obstacle Course
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Community Mural
  • Inspire the Mad Scientist
  • Paper Airplane contest
  • Budding Bookworms
  • Way to grow seed bombs
  • Make Some Music
  • Visit from Red Cross

Hilltop YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Activities: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Bounce House
  • Face Painting
  • Open Volleyball
  • Field Games
  • Dog Safety Workshop
  • Trike-a-thon
  • 5-on-5
  • Fire Truck
  • Vendors
  • SWAT
  • Combine Competition
  • PM Family Kickball
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Open Gymnastics
  • Open Climbing Wall

Jerry L. Garver YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Activities: noon-4:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Painting
  • Obstacle course
  • Hands on Literacy
  • Math Minutes
  • Punt, Pass, Kick game
  • Nature Scavenger Hunt
  • Face paiting
  • STEM activities
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - American Lung Association
    - American Red Cross
    - The Andersons
    - The Barn
    - Bicycle One: Bike Safety
    - Boys & Girls Club
    - Cameron Mitchell
    - City BBQ
    - Columbus Ultimate Disc: Family Frisbie Game
    - COSI
    - Dentist Dr. Larry Devese
    - Fire Department
    - Fuel Up to play 60
    - Go Go Squeeze
    - Jackson Lake Campground
    - Kristal and Forche Orthodontics
    - Krogers Foods
    - Oriental Trading Company
    - OSU Human Nutrition Department
    - Pickerington Library
    - Police Department: Child Id’s & Cars
    - Rolling Arcade: Dance Dance Party
    - Small Smiles
    - Wayne Webb Bowling Center
    - We Joy Sing: Music Table
    - WIC
    - Youth Advocate Services

Liberty Twp./Powell YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 9:00 a.m.-noon
Activities: 9:00 a.m.-noon

Fitness Related Groups/Clinics/Demos

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Jiu Jitsu skills clinics and demos with Gracie Studios
  • Cheerleading skills clinics and demos with Olentangy Liberty High School Cheerleaders
  • Family Yoga class
  • Kids Zumba class
  • Fencing skills clinics and demos with ProFencing

Local Organizations and Businesses

  • Red Cross- Hand washing station
  • Powell Police Dept.
  • US Army Recruiters
  • Delaware Police Dept.
  • YMCA Camp Wilson- Pony rides 
  • Columbus Zoo- Mobile zoo and mascot
  • Children's Hospital mobile unit

Entertainment and Games

  • Local Powell Band- Liberty Deep Down Band
  • Healthy Food Game
  • Short Running Race 
  • Ohio Machine
  • Blue Jackets
  • Life Size Chess
  • Healthy snack and crafts

North YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Flick & Float Family Movie in our Pool: 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Pickaway County Family YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: noon-1:00 p.m.
Activities: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Rowdy Rascals- 4H
  • Fitness obstacle course
  • Tang Soo Do  demonstration
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - Circleville City Police
    - Ohio State Highway Patrol
    - Pickaway Co Sheriffs office
    - Circleville Fire Dept.
    - Boy Scout Troop 55
    - Dental Wellness checks by Dr. Sean Byers, DDS

Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Activities: 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Face Painting
  • Bounce House
  • Venders
  • Fire Department
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Healthy snacks

Eldon & Elise Family YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Activities: 1:00-4:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Bouncy House
  • Fire Department's Fire House
  • Massages and Spinal Screenings by the Buckeye Physical Medicine & Rehab
  • Workouts
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - Blingg
    - City Year
    - Girl Scouts
    - Columbus Police Department
    - MLK Columbus Metropolitan Library
    - Park Fun
  • Martial Arts Demo
  • Cooking Demos
  • Pool Activities
    - Life Jacket Fitting and Boating Safety 1:00-2:00 p.m.
    - Open Swim 1:00-4:00 p.m.
    - Gently-used Swim Suit Giveaway


von Hippel, P.T., Powell, B., Downey, D.B., & Rowland, N., American Journal of Public Health, “The effect of school on overweight in childhood: Gains in children’s body mass index during the school year and during summer vacation”, April 2007

Horizons National, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahhj3wxxkdM&feature=player_embedded

March 24 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day

Tuesday, March 24, is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, and the YMCA of Central Ohio wants residents of Columbus to know their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as preventative steps they can take today to reduce the chances of developing the disease.

In the United States alone, 26 million people suffer from diabetes and 79 million people have prediabetes. These statistics are alarming, and the impact on the cost of health care and the overall well-being of our communities makes preventing the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes more important than ever before.

The nation’s struggle with obesity and type 2 diabetes is no surprise but the number of people with prediabetes is a growing issue, especially when only 11 percent realize they have the condition. Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Often a preventable condition, people with prediabetes can reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by adopting behavior changes that include eating healthier and increasing physical activity. People with prediabetes are at risk for not only developing type 2 diabetes, but also cardiovascular disease, stroke and other conditions.

As a leading voice on improving the nation’s health and well-being, the YMCA of Central Ohio encourages all adults learn their vulnerability for type 2 diabetes by taking a risk assessment at http://www.diabetes.org/risktest Sever.al factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include family history, age, weight and activity level, among others.

Some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and an increased focus on healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

• Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
• Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.
• Aim for whole grains with every meal.
• Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
• Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
• Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history of the disease or are overweight. 

To learn more about the YMCA of Central Ohio’s Diabetes Prevention Program, please visit http://ymcacolumbus.org/diabetes or contact Caroline Rankin, director of chronic disease prevention programs, at 614-384-2281.

March is National Nutrition Month: Plan, Prep and Eat Together

Busy schedules can make finding time for healthy family meals a challenge, but when we opt for convenient and quick options like ‘fast food’ or eat at different times, we lose the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones and support our health and well-being. When all members of the family are engaged in planning, cooking and then sharing regular, nutritious meals—be it breakfast, lunch or dinner—caregivers can take advantage of this time spent together and nurture children’s development by serving as positive role models, strengthening family relationships and setting healthy habits to promote children’s health and wellbeing later in life. At the Y, strengthening community is our cause, and strong families make for strong communities. March is National Nutrition Month® and a good time to consider how changing up your meal routine can strengthen your family’s health and well-being. Here are a few helpful tips the YMCA of Central Ohio team recommends for making healthy family meals a priority:

HOLD A WEEKLY PLANNING PARTY Gather the family around some healthy snacks and hold a meal planning party where everyone helps plan healthy family meals and creates a grocery list with needed ingredients. Involving children in selecting ingredients may make them more receptive to trying new foods and recipes.

COOK TOGETHER By preparing meals together, caregivers can teach kids about what goes into making a nutritious meal while also imparting useful skills and spending quality time with them. Break tasks down into manageable pieces and encourage children to touch, smell and taste ingredients. Have fun and let everyone experience how good it feels to work together.

ENJOY AND RELAX Mealtime is perfect for family conversation. Engage kids in conversation that excites them and spend time talking about the meal they helped plan and prepare. This should be a time when everyone feels connected and part of the family.

Tips for Safer Snow Removal

At the Y, we have a partnership with The Ohio State University Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation at our locations in Gahanna, Grove City, Hilliard and Liberty Township/Powell. They recommend these tips for safer snow removal in accordance with recommendations from the American Heart Association. Below are a few of the tips you should follow when shoveling snow:

1. Give yourself frequent rest breaks.

2. Don’t eat a heavy meal prior to or soon after shoveling.

3. Use a small shovel or consider a snow blower.

4. Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body.

5. Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after.

6. Consult your physician if you have a pre-existing condition. 

7. Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia.

Tips for Achieving New Year’s Resolutions

Each year, millions of Americans resolve to get in better shape and become healthier versions of themselves. According to a recent YMCA survey of more than 1,000 adults, less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolution in 2014. An overwhelming 71 percent said they tried but fell short, and 40 percent confessed that they made it through only a couple of weeks or months. 

However, there’s hope for the coming year. One-third of survey respondents who plan to make a resolution in 2015 believe they’ll stick to it and reach their goals, with more than half believing that encouragement from others will keep them committed.

A positive outlook doesn’t always translate to action unless without setting manageable goals and leaning on the support of health and wellness communities. Here are five tips the YMCA of Central Ohio recommends to help make a healthy New Year’s resolution stick:

1. Start small. Set attainable resolutions. For example, if your goal is to exercise more frequently in the New Year, don’t schedule seven days a week at the gym. Start with a reasonable three days a week. If you’d like to eat healthier, try replacing desserts with other foods you enjoy, such as fruit or yogurt.

2. Take it one step at a time. Making a New Year’s resolution doesn’t require you to reassess every little detail of your life. Replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones takes time, so don’t become overwhelmed. Work to change one behavior at a time, and then go from there.

3. Choose a facility that focuses on a holistic approach to health. When it comes to adding healthy behaviors – like working out – to your lifestyle, finding a facility that keeps you motivated is critical to maintaining your exercise routine. Before committing to a membership, take a tour of local gyms to find the best fit for you. Your facility should not be just a gym, but a community organization that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity such as the YMCA. 

4. Establish a little friendly competition. More than half of the Y survey respondents felt a little “healthy competition” when friends encouraged them to be even more committed to keeping their New Year’s resolutions. Share your experiences with support groups – friends, family, fellow workout class members or close colleagues. Talking about your struggles and successes will make your goals more attainable and less intimidating.

5. Set New Year’s goals with someone you love. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you have a partner working toward similar goals. More than three-fourths of survey respondents indicated that they would set the same resolution for a member of their immediate family. Team up with a family member to set your 2015 goals, and establish a game plan that is dedicated to achieving them.

The easiest gift you’ll make this year!

How YOU can give back to your community

Did you know you can help the Y when you shop at Kroger and Amazon, and there's no extra cost to you? Kroger Community Rewards® and AmazonSmile make giving easy!

By designating the YMCA of Central Ohio as the recipient of these programs, you are helping us to provide safe and affordable child care for working parents, low income housing for those who may otherwise be homeless, health and wellness activities to help individuals prevent or manage cardiovascular disease and so much more.

Read on to learn how you can help through these great opportunities. Your designations will assist the YMCA of Central Ohio in continuing to meet the needs of our community.

Kroger Community Rewards®

All you have to do is sign into your Plus Card account on Kroger's website and enroll in the Kroger Community Rewards® Program. Then, when you shop at Kroger, swipe your Plus Card, and a percentage of your shopping dollars will come directly to the YMCA to help support all that we do in our community. 

As a requirement of the Kroger Community Rewards® Program, you must renew your enrollment annually in order for the YMCA of Central Ohio to continue to receive donations from this program.



By using AmazonSmile and designating the YMCA of Central Ohio, .5% of eligible purchases will help strengthen your community through the YMCA's efforts. When you shop, make sure to browse using smile.amazon.com, which will show you the same products at the same prices.

Kroger and Amazon do NOT share the names of individuals who are enrolled in either program with the YMCA of Central Ohio.


Allison Wiley

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NEW 9 Week Sessions

Winter Session

January5 - March 8, 2015 

We’re gearing up for 2015 and have some great news to share! New in 2015 is a 9 week session calendar designed to help you experience more in-depth training and better progression toward your goals. We’re committed to making sure you enjoy your YMCA experience; have priority registration for the programs you want and are here to help you reach your health and wellness goals in the new year.

  • Deeper Focus and training
  • Registration available before session ends
  • 9 Weeks = more progress
  • Streamlined online registration on the new Hub         

  Winter registration available December 6th


We look forward to seeing you at the Y in 2015. 

Registration Begins

Members: December 6, 2014

Non Members: December 13, 2014




Renovations nearly complete at Four YMCAs

Created with flickr slideshow.

We're thrilled our branch renovations are nearing completion! The Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA, Grove City YMCA, Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA and Liberty Township/Powell YMCA all received redesigned: 

  • Welcome Centers
  • Member Lounges
  • flooring throughout
  • tracks
  • cardio and strength equipment
  • and more!

Check out what's new at...

Make sure stop by one of these Ys for a full tour of the spaces!



YMCA of Central Ohio preschoolers help set new Guinness Book World Record

About 100 pre-school-aged children and their teachers from the YMCA of Central Ohio gathered Thursday, October 30 at the Hilltop YMCA/Cherry Creek location to help set the Guinness Book World Record for largest vocabulary lesson. The event was part of the Grow Up Great initiative, hosted by PNC Financial Services, which focuses on early learning in youth development.

More than 4,000 children in 37 cities across 15 states and the District of Columbia participated in the lesson. The new record for largest vocabulary lesson was set with the first 1,031 participants throughout the country. Children who participated in the event each took home a copy of “Words are Here, There and Everywhere,” an English/Spanish multimedia kit created by Sesame Workshop. PNC’s Grow Up Great has been helping children prepare for Kindergarten for 10 years. The YMCA of Central Ohio Child Care leadership was thrilled to be involved with the event and thank the PNC Financial Services team for their support of early childhood learning. To see more photos from the event, click here

Now accepting proposals for project at the Cherry Creek YMCA location.

Now accepting proposals for project at the Cherry Creek YMCA location.  Responses must be bid using federal Davis/ Bacon prevailing wage standards.



Rich Zingale

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More Information (PDF)

YMCA Cherry Creek - Project - Bid & Permit Set

Many Child Care Job Openings in the YMCA

Olentangy Local Openings

Site Director Openings - 1

View Description and Apply


Teacher Openings

8(am-7-9)& 11 pm 3-6)
Alum Creek - 1am & 1pm
Arrowhead - 1am & 1pm
Freedom Trail - 1pm
Indian Springs - 1am & 1pm
Liberty Tree - 1am & 1pm
Olentangy Meadows - 1pm
Scioto Ridge - 1am
Tyler Run - 3am & 3pm
Wyandot Run - 1pm
Oak Creek - 1pm
View Description and Apply

North Openings

FT Lead Preschool Teacher - View Description and Apply
PT Before/After School Teacher- View Description and Apply

West, Hilltop, Openings

Site Director Openings - 3

Montrose (am and pm) - Bexley City Schools
Harmon (pm) - Southwestern City Schools
Hamilton (am and pm) - Hamilton Local Schools
View Description and Apply

11 Teacher Openings

Hamilton Elementary (pm) 3-6 - Hamilton Township Schools
Harmon (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
West Bay (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
Prairie Norton (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
North Franklin (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
Alton Hall (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
Darby Woods (pm) 3-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
Montrose (pm) 3-6pm - Bexley City Schools
Valleyview (pm) 2-6pm - Columbus City Schools
Southwood (pm) 3-6pm - Columbus City Schools
Fairwood (pm) 3-6 pm - Columbus City Schools
View Description and Apply

Jerry L. Garver Openings

Site Director Opening-1

Full time - Pickerington Local Schools View Description and Apply

Teachers Opening - 2

Whitehall (pm) 2-6pm Pickerington teacher (pm) 2-6pm View Description and Apply

Hilltop Educare Openings

Full-Time Infant Teacher

(bachelors in ECE or equivalent) M-F 9-6 View Description and Apply

Preschool Teacher

(any education but would prefer at least a CDA, but an Associates in ECE would be great. M-F 9-6 View Description and Apply

Floater Position

7-9am or 10 am M-F View Description and Apply

Early Learning Openings

Baby Room Closer

3-6pm - Qualifications: in school for ECE or related degree View Description and Apply

West Side shelter opens to accommodate homeless families

Please see below for a recent article from the July 24, 2014 edition of The Columbus Dispatch about the new Van Buren Center. 

A renovated West Side warehouse in which boxes were manufactured now provides a resting place for homeless families.

The Community Shelter Board opened its newest shelter, at 525 Van Buren Dr., last night to about 40 families who couldn’t squeeze into the already-packed YWCA Family Center on the East Side.

“We’re providing a refuge of peace, hope and safety,” said Sue Darby, the executive director of the Downtown district of the YMCA of Central Ohio, which provides overnight staffing at the new shelter.

Built for 50 families, the YWCA Family Center has served more than 120 people at a time, with many of the kids and their parents ending up on cots, in churches or at motels because there were no empty beds.

The Community Shelter Board has even tried paying friends and family members to let homeless families stay with them, but it hasn’t stemmed the flow.

“The increase in family homelessness is absolutely astronomical,” said Michelle Heritage, the shelter board’s executive director.

Over the past three years, homelessness in Franklin County grew by 14 percent among single men and women and 65 percent among families, according to the shelter board. To meet this need, the board has spent an additional $1.5 million in motel and overflow-shelter costs, Heritage said.

Though it had long held out against a brick-and-mortar response, the shelter board decided the time had come for a new shelter, and it bought the former Columbus Paper Box property in the West Edge Business Center.

Families sent to the West Side shelter will spend the night in beds initially intended for single men and women through at least November. That’s when more homeless adults will come in off the streets looking for a warm, dry place to sleep, Heritage said.

During the day, the families will be taken to the YWCA Family Center for services.

The shelter board is raising money to build a permanent family shelter on the second floor of the Van Buren building. It is to have private sleeping rooms for families, a homework room and offices where clients can meet with case managers. It is to open by September 2015, and Volunteers of America will operate it.

“The dramatic increase in families seeking shelter is pretty unbelievable,” said Volunteers of America spokeswoman Nicole Knowlton. “It’s the children who are the most vulnerable and hardest hit.”

The $13.7 million shelter will serve up to 356 single men and women and 85 families in separate wings and will have a medical clinic and meeting rooms, Heritage said.

It will also serve as the new home for Rebecca’s Place, which currently provides shelter to 47 women in a run-down building on Rhoads Avenue on the East Side. The property’s previous owner went bankrupt, and the building went into foreclosure.

The relocation of Rebecca’s Place is expected to be completed by the end of this month. By mid-August, the shelter board expects to begin admitting single women. It won’t start taking men until November, when the weather starts to turn cold.

The shelter board is also unveiling a new program in October aimed at helping single adults move quickly into stable housing and steer clear of the obstacles that can push them back into homelessness. People will be assigned to case managers who will link them to housing, job training and medical and mental-health care.

People will be assigned to the same case manager if they end up back in a shelter, and that person will check on them after they’ve found housing, to make sure their lives stay on a positive track.

“They’re your person who will stay with you — no matter where you go,” Heritage said.

Link to Article


Thank you for ensuring kids stay safe in water

If you were at a branch this summer, you might have noticed a few ducks waddling around. The ducks invited our members and community to help us address a critical need in our community - keeping children safe around water. Our staff and volunteers had a great time in their fundraising efforts by dressing up in duck costumes or wearing flotation devices.

Kathryn Dobbs, YMCA of Central Ohio's Vice President of Philanthropy said, "This is truly a great way for our Y community to build awareness about water safety and the need to teach children to swim. With the funds raised through this initiative, we're able to support families and children who otherwise could not participate in swim lessons".

Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and three children die every day as a result of drowning (www.cdc.gov/safechild).  At the Y, we want to ensure that children, teens and adults have access to programs such as swim lessons. The outcome is more than a great backstroke, it can save a life.

Through this effort, our members and community partners helped more than 500 children who will now have access to swim lessons. Thank you to all who helped make this possible in Central Ohio!

Community Impact Breakfast Features Michael Eicher

On June 17, the Columbus Foundation welcomed the YMCA of Central Ohio and 100 guests for a special Community Impact Breakfast. 

Michael Eicher, senior vice president of advancement at The Ohio State University and president of The Ohio State University Foundation served as the keynote speaker for the event. 

Prior to joining Ohio State, Mike was senor vice president for external affairs and development at Johns Hopkins University, where he led the Knowledge for the World campaign, resulting in commitments of more then $3.7 billion, focused on the critical unmet needs of the university.

While Mr. Eicher's professional resume is accomplished, he also has a long, rich history with the YMCA. As part of the National Board at YMCA of the USA, Mike is bringing his extraordinary knowledge and dedicated counsel to the work of the YMCA movement, benefitting Y's across the country.

Mike's inspirational keynote included personal reflections and stories of his experiences with the YMCA.

Help Support Your Community

Supply drive to benefit homeless adults & children at Van Buren Front Door Shelter

General Items Needed

  • Blankets
  • Twin sheets
  • Pillow cases
  • Tooth brushes
  • Tooth pastes
  • Floss
  • Feminine products
  • Deodorant
  • Pillows
  • Bar Soap (travel size)
  • Shampoo (travel size)
  • Conditioner (travel size)
  • Lip balm
  • Socks (mens black tube socks preferred)
  • Depends
  • New Underwear
  • Books (especially resource books)
  • Disposable Razors 
  • Games/Cards
  • Educational Materials
  • Baby Powder
  • Daily Planners

Items Needed for Children

  • cribs
  • baby wash tubs
  • play pens/pack & plays
  • high chairs
  • bibs
  • sipper cups
  • bounce chairs
  • baby crank swings
  • diaper pails
  • baby formula
  • baby food
  • baby wipes
  • diapers
  • children's pull ups.


Elizabeth Zingale

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At the YMCA of Central Ohio, the safety of members, program participants and staff is our highest priority. After careful review and consideration of national statistics showing no injuries and/or deaths associated with the use of indoor swimming pools during thunderstorms where lightning is present in the area, we’re pleased to provide our updated policy below. For outdoor pools, however, swimming during a thunderstorm is extremely dangerous. Lightning regularly strikes water, and since water conducts electricity, a nearby lightning strike is extremely probable.

The indoor pools and pool decks at all YMCA of Central Ohio locations will remain open during thunderstorms. We reserve the right to close the indoor pool if severe weather is in the direct vicinity and poses a significant threat. Indoor pools will close immediately when a tornado warning has been issued in the area. All members and staff will receive instruction for the safest location inside the facility while the area is under a tornado warning. Once the warning has been lifted, all swimming pools will reopen. During a high wind advisory outside, pools that have windows will be asked to move all outdoor equipment to a safe location, and the blinds pulled until the advisory is lifted.

Lightning and Thunder: When thunder or lightning is first noticed, outdoor pool activities will be suspended and all outdoor pools and pool decks will be evacuated until 30 minutes after the last sign of thunder or lightning. The distance from a facility to an approaching thunderstorm can be five to eight miles away, but lightning can strike from a much farther distance.

Heavy rain can make it difficult to see the bottom of a pool or beneath the surface. If heavy rain causes bottom obstruction, pools will be cleared and swimming halted until the rain lets up. Wind can also cause safety hazards. If wind is observably strong or gusty and causes bottom obstruction due to rippling, swimmers will be cleared from pools until the bottom is visible.

Bickley YMCA marks decade

The Gahanna community is invited to help celebrate a decade as the Gahanna John E. Bickley YMCA during an open house from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 31.

Wellness-services director Valerie Baumann said the 10-year anniversary celebration would include family Zumba, a bounce house, carnival games, face painting, a Slip'n Slide, a nutrition seminar, field games, a children's hip-hop and other activities.

The open house is free, and the membership enrollment fee will be waived all day, so nonmembers are invited to attend.

Baumann said more than 20 local businesses would be represented, including Giant Eagle and Bob Evans, as well as such small businesses as Shampooch.

Gahanna YMCA executive director Paul Westenheffer said 10 years is a very exciting milestone.

"Our staff and volunteers are proud to celebrate this anniversary and reflect back on the hard work so many people have provided to make our Y a success," he said. "We have been very fortunate to receive tremendous support from the Gahanna community over the years. We appreciate that support and look forward to serving the community for many more years to come."

The Gahanna YMCA opened March 9, 2004.

Westenheffer said the Y has been working with the Ohio State University for outpatient rehabilitation since its opening.

The Gahanna YMCA is volunteer-led, with 21 active board members.

Last year, the Y donated $270,000 to the community, according to Baumann.

She said donations have subsidized memberships, camp registration, swim lessons and program registration for a diabetes prevention program.

"We also have an upcoming program this fall that has already been implemented at other central Ohio YMCAs, called Livestrong, at the YMCA," Baumann said.

The program allows cancer survivors to work with trainers to build strength after treatments.

"We offer this program completely free to cancer survivors, and this is only possible with the support of others," Baumann said. "In addition, this summer, 40 percent of our campers will be able to attend kids camp because of subsidized registration.

Baumann said Gahanna's current membership is 14,140.

Thanks to a partnership with the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, Westenheffer said, the Gahanna YMCA at Clark Hall opened September 6, 2011.

He said the Y offers more than 100 group exercise classes per week, and the largest program is swim lessons, with more than 500 participants per session.

The Gahanna YMCA employs more than 170 people, and it's a host site for the U.S. Navy SEALs training program.

"The Y is community-centered," Westenheffer said. "We respond to community needs through collaboration, program and services."

He said the Y also brings people together, connecting people of all ages and backgrounds to bridge the gaps in community needs. And the Y nurtures potential.

"We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive," Westenheffer said.

Link to Article


LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA registration open

Cancer is a life-changing disease that takes a tremendous physical and emotional toll on those affected. LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA, a research-based physical activity and well-being program for adult cancer survivors, provides survivors with the opportunity to come to the Y to heal. Participants work with Y staff trained in supportive cancer care to safely achieve their goals such as building muscle mass and strength; increasing flexibility and endurance; and improving confidence and self-esteem. By focusing on the whole person and not the disease, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is helping people move beyond cancer in spirit, mind and body.

We have classes starting at the following YMCA branches (Y membership is not required and the program is free for participants): 

Hilltop YMCA - 614-276-8224
Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA - 614-252-3166
Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA - 614-416-9622
Downtown YMCA - 614-224-1131
North YMCA - 614-885-4252
Pickaway County Family YMCA - 740-477-1661
Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA - 614-539-1770

Please call us with any questions. 

OCU athletes join people with disabilities for basketball clinic

Members of the Ohio Christian University men’s basketball team spent the day Wednesday as teachers at a basketball clinic for people with disabilities, but in the process learned lessons of their own.

About 200 people participated in the event held at the Pickaway County Family YMCA, according to Chris Hiles, vice president of media and sales for IN-Abled, the company organizing the clinic.

“It’s really a life-changing event,” Hiles said. “Not only for the participants but also for the student athletes to see that people are people and to break down those barriers for people with disabilities.”

The participants ranged in age and were invited through a partnership with Berger Health System, the Pickaway County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Special Olympics and Easter Seals, as well as organizations in Ross, Fairfield and Fayette counties like Good Hands Supported Living, he said.

Students from Teays Valley and Westfall school districts also participated in the clinic.

The event was held as a Christian service project for the OCU men’s team, which is part of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). Though the first of its kind, the local event is being used to develop a model that may be used by the NCCAA as a standard for future Christian service projects nationwide.

The clinics were followed by an exhibition game between NCCAA and OCU officials and an all-star team held Wednesday night at OCU. Proceeds from the game benefit Easter Seals, which Hiles said was chosen because it is a holistic service organization with an international reach that provides services for people with disabilities.

Hiles, a former employee of the local YMCA and a graduate of the former Circleville Bible College (now OCU), said the Y offered its facility free of charge for the clinics on Wednesday.

“Our idea has always been that the YMCA should be a community center, and it fit our mission well to work with them,” said Jeff Phillips, director of the Pickaway County Family YMCA. “There was a lot of activity, a lot of energy and smiles, not only from the kids but also the basketball players. They had a great time, and we were proud to be part of it.”

IN-Abled, based in Logan, is a media company that creates person-centered illustrations focusing on the success, abilities and inclusion of a diverse group of people in the disabilities community, according to its Web site.

More information can be found Online at www.in-abled.com.

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YMCA of Central Ohio Staff Donate over $122K to Annual Campaign

To date, YMCA of Central Ohio staff have donated $122,232 to the organization’s 2014 Annual Campaign. Sixty-five percent of the organization’s more than 1,800 employees donated to the 2014 campaign, an increase in participation of 2 percent from 2013.

YMCA of Central Ohio officials and members of the Board of Directors recognized the staff’s outstanding philanthropic performance last week at a celebration to kick off the organization’s external 2014 Annual Campaign. Community Campaign volunteers also attended the event to learn about opportunities to strengthen the Y’s Cause throughout Central Ohio. Staff and community volunteer donations have already raised more than $500K toward the organization’s $1M goal. The YMCA of Central Ohio moved into the public phase of its campaign March 10.

“I’m so proud of our staff and volunteers,” said Andrew Roberts, President and CEO of the YMCA of Central Ohio. “Throughout Central Ohio, countless people know they can count on the Y. We don’t turn anyone away for inability to pay. Every day, we work throughout our local communities to support the children, adults, families and neighborhoods that need us most. We are launching our Annual Campaign to ensure that everyone in our community has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.”

Financial gifts will help to close gaps in the community and to strengthen Central Ohio by helping individuals and families through programs and services that support the Y’s commitment to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Individuals interested in donating to the YMCA of Central Ohio can do so by visiting www.ymcacolumbus.org/give.

Enhance®Fitness for older adults

Enhance®Fitness is an evidence-based group exercise program, helps older adults at all levels of fitness become more active, energized, an empowered to sustain independent lives. This wellness program focuses on dynamic cardiovascular exercise, strength training, balance, and flexibility — everything older adults need to maintain health and function as they age.

In a typical class, participants will experience:
• A certified instructor with special training in bringing out the physical best from older adults
• A 5-minute warm-up to get the blood flowing to the muscles
• A 20-minute aerobics workout that gets participants moving, or a walking workout to lively music that the class chooses
• A 5-minute cool-down
• A 20-minute strength training workout with soft ankle and wrist weights (0 up to 20 pounds)
• A 10-minute stretching workout to keep the muscles flexible
• Balance exercises throughout the class
• Lots of opportunities for participants to make new friends and acquaintances!


Locations and Contact Information:

Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA
Brianna Burke

Hilltop YMCA
Barbara Camfield

Delaware Community Center YMCA
Amy Mosser

Grove City YMCA
Angie Jordan

Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA
Inez Rosa

March is National Nutrition Month

Shop Healthy

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is essential to every person’s well-being. As a leading nonprofit for healthy living, the YMCA of Central Ohio encourages healthy eating habits by providing nutritious meals and snacks during programs and activities. We also provide families with tips and ideas for eating healthy at home.

March is National Nutrition Month, and the Y is sharing a few healthy shopping tips to help you make the healthiest grocery selections for you and your family. As a general rule, it’s best to reach for groceries that are stocked around the perimeter of the store. Here are a few tips to remember on your next shopping trip:

Opt for Whole Grains

• Check the ingredients list to make sure a whole grain (like whole wheat, barley, oats, rye or brown rice) is listed first.
• Choose whole grains with no more than 5 grams of sugar.
• Pick up quick-cooking grains such as whole- wheat pasta, brown rice or quinoa.

Cut the Salt

• Check nutrition labels on canned, boxed and frozen foods to ensure sodium (salt) levels are below 300 mg per serving.
• Choose real cheese instead of cheese products.
• Consider alternatives to lunchmeat, which can contain high levels of salt, like no-salt-added peanut butter with bananas, or fresh vegetables with hummus.

YMCA’s Weather Policy

Snow Emergency: (As determined by the county where the branch is located)


Level I:

  • YMCA will be open for normal operating hours.
  • Classes/programs will follow their regular schedule.

Level II:

  • YMCA of Central Ohio branches affected by a Level II snow emergency may have a delay in opening or early closure.
  • Morning or evening classes/programs may be cancelled at YMCA of Central

Level III:

  • YMCA of Central Ohio locations affected by a Level III snow emergency will be closed.
  • All classes/programs of the locations affected, will be cancelled for as long as the Level III snow emergency is in place.


Gahanna/Bickley YMCA gets facelift, new equipment

Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA members soon will be able to work out in style with new equipment and renovated facilities, thanks to the YMCA of Central Ohio and a gift from the Limited Brands Foundation.

Gahanna YMCA director Paul Westenheffer said he is thrilled and honored to have the Y collaborate with the Limited Brands Foundation and Victoria's Secret to better serve the Gahanna community.

An undisclosed financial gift from the Limited Brands Foundation to revitalize the interior spaces of the Y will make the local facility more conducive to helping individuals develop healthy habits, Westenheffer said.

Improvements will include new carpeting, fresh paint and a new color palette, new surfaces on the member service desk and vanities, newly-designed resource displays and large-screen televisions.

New equipment will feature rotating staircases, a high-tech spinning bike, a rope climber, treadmills, elliptical machines, rowers and other cardio equipment.

"Whether it is refurbished fitness areas, which will help the community stay healthy, or a new coffee and lounge area for seniors to have a welcoming place to meet with friends, or revitalized locker rooms designed for families, the Victoria's Secret and YMCA teams worked closely together with the needs of the whole community in mind," Westenheffer said.

Construction began Dec. 16 and is expected to be completed by mid-January. Finishing touches like painting and lighting are scheduled to be finished by the Gahanna Y's 10th anniversary in March.

"The bulk of it will be done soon," Westenheffer said.

He said the collaboration between the YMCA and Limited Brands went beyond the monetary gift by the foundation.

"The YMCA has added to the total to help us purchase additional equipment, both to replenish items that needed replaced and to add newer, state-of-the-art equipment," Westenheffer said. "It will be of great appeal to our members and others. This wasn't a capital campaign. The grant triggered the whole project. We looked at what we could get done and how to complement the grant."

Led by YMCA board member Patrick Sanderson, COO of Victoria's Secret stores, a team of Victoria's Secret interior designers volunteered their time and talents to partner with YMCA leaders over the course of several months to redesign spaces that weren't inviting. They also considered what was needed to help Y members meet their personal goals.

"With these new spaces, the YMCA refreshes its promise to be a place in which all are welcome, feel comfortable and confident and are supported by YMCA staff that is dedicated to their personal growth and well-being," Westenheffer said.

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From the Y to the Canadian Football League

The Y is the starting point for many youth to learn about becoming and staying active, and developing healthy habits they will carry with them throughout their lives. The benefits are far greater than just physical. When kids play sports, they can build confidence, discover their personal best, have fun and be a part of a team. 

Chip Cox, 30, of Columbus, OH, first came to the North YMCA as a child with his father and brother. He enjoyed spending time with his family, working out, playing sports in the gym and meeting new friends. He had goals and worked toward them throughout the years. Now, he's a linebacker for the Montreal Alouettes and was recently named Defensive Player of the year in the Canadian Football League. Chip is very team-oriented and said the award isn't just about him but also about his teammates. 

During the offseason, he still visits the North YMCA to work out and train when he's in town and said the Y is a welcoming community. 

"The Y feels like home and is my home away from home," Chip said. "I've met so many great people at the Y and have learned a lot about community."

Congratulations, Chip! We're so proud of you. 


The Good Life | YMCA volunteer prepares residents for the long run

When he crossed the finish line last month at the Ohio State Four-Miler, Doug Del Vigna wasn’t done running.

He didn’t collect his medal right away; instead, he returned to the pack of thousands to find a member of the Columbus Sole team to accompany to the end.

Along with two other “mentors,” Del Vigna wanted to ensure that all five Columbus Sole members completed the race.

“We have a variety of skill levels,” said the Grandview Heights resident, who founded the group in the summer.

“One can run sub-eight-minute miles, and one’s a walker.”

Race times, though, matter little to Columbus Sole, whose members live at the Downtown YMCA.

“The running team is a vehicle to get them to develop connections, commitment, trust and accomplishment,” said Del Vigna, a 38-year-old pilot and avid runner.

“It’s a peace away from all the other challenges of life.”

The Ohio State Four-Miler, a fundraiser for cancer research, marked the first of many races for which Del Vigna plans to encourage YMCA residents — and, in the future, other homeless people — to train.

Although the residents need basic help in finding a job, permanent housing or maybe even their next meal, Del Vigna thought he could make a difference, too, by establishing a running program.

Before he could get Columbus Sole off its feet, however, he had to outfit team members in proper footwear. (The retailer FrontRunner donated shoes and socks.)

Three months ago, YMCA officials identified nine men for the group; five chose to take part, signing a contract with Del Vigna pledging not to miss more than five practices during the 10 weeks of training.

The runners followed a 5-kilometer training schedule, taking short walks and gradually reaching longer runs.

With the weather having turned wintry, the group is now practicing just once a week, usually inside the YMCA gym.

Training will pick up in February for a spring race.

Before he joined the group, Cedric Campbell hadn’t imagined running a mile, let alone 4 miles. (He finished the race in 54 minutes.)

“Are you kidding me?” said the 61-year-old, a YMCA resident for almost three years.

“I would cross the street and almost pass out.”

His success, he said, has boosted his confidence.

“Now I think: ‘Maybe you can do that. I could try yoga or run a marathon.’”

YMCA staff members have witnessed attitude changes with other team members, including two who recently found their own places.

The program has allowed them to assume a label other than homeless, said YMCA Executive Director Sue Darby, who watched the men attach their numbers to their matching bright-blue shirts before the Nov. 10 race.

Now, they are runners.

“Pinning on that number was so positive,” Darby said.

Beyond monetary and in-kind donations, she said, volunteer time especially counts.

Del Vigna, she said, has encouraged one runner to visit his young son more often and helped all the team members learn to trust one another.

“There was this shift,” Darby said, “of going from their problems pushing them around to their dreams leading them.”

Next year, YMCA officials plan to open the program to all 400 residents.

Del Vigna is seeking help with three-times-a-week training runs on the Scioto Trail.

He is surprised at how close the team members have become — a sentiment echoed by Campbell.

“Participating in this has brought a great relationship here,” he said. “I would’ve missed that."

For more information about Columbus Sole, email Doug Del Vigna atddelvigna@gmail.com.

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Running to strengthen their community

A neighborhood doesn’t always have a sense of community. But one group of residents who live in the residential section of the Downtown YMCA recently removed the barriers of communication to discover community and brotherhood.

In September, five residents began training for the Ohio State University (OSU) 4 Miler. They received free shoes through donations from Front Runner and met weekly to train for the run. Volunteers from the YMCA of Central Ohio met with the residents during training to encourage them throughout the training process. In addition, the residents met with local church members and a Reverend at some gatherings to discuss their progress and share experiences.

Amanda Owen, Director of Supportive Services at the Downtown YMCA, said, “Through the running club, residents were able to form a community, engage in discussions about issues affecting their lives and build confidence.” They also exchanged personal stories and took time to build friendships with one another. The residents successfully completed the OSU 4 Miler and are already discussing plans for their next activities.

The YMCA of Central Ohio, one of Central Ohio’s largest nonprofit organizations and one of the nation’s most recognized brands, offers residential services to low-income adult men at its Downtown YMCA. Often on the verge of homelessness, the men are able to live in a building next to the Downtown YMCA and receive reduced rental agreements. For more information about resident services at the Downtown YMCA, please contact Amanda Owen at 614-384-2285.

YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program now available for FREE to Medicare beneficiaries

The YMCA of Central Ohio's Diabetes Prevention Program is now Free for those who qualify and are covered through Medicare. Individuals who qualify and are covered through UnitedHealthcare can still attend the courses at no cost. If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, our program provides a supportive environment where you can work with others in a small group setting to learn how to adopt healthy habits to reduce your chances of developing the disease. Click here for more information about the program and registration details.

Welcome Two New YMCA Directors

Officials at the YMCA of Central Ohio recently announced two new executive directors. Cory Hughes was named Executive Director of the Jerry L. Garver YMCA and Steve Stevenson as Executive Director of the Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA.

Cory Hughes has held several positions with YMCAs in Wisconsin throughout the past eight years, most recently serving as the Member Engagement Director for the Rite Hite Family YMCA in Brown Deer, WI. He connected members with programs and helped change lives through healthy connections and relationships that created a community of long term members with vested interest in the Y.

He enjoys spending time with his wife Victoria, his daughter and two stepchildren. His hobbies include studying history and comparative literature. Welcome, Cory!

Prior to joining the YMCA of Central Ohio, Steve Stevenson managed the day-to-day operations of City Year in six different cities. He has a degree in education from Point Park College and has been actively involved with grassroots organizations for years.

"I still mentor and help guide hundreds of young people all over the country," Steve said. "I have an even bigger sense of obligation now that I’m a husband and a Father of an 11-year-old daughter. I try to set the right examples for her and every young person that I come in contact with." Welcome, Steve!

New homeless shelter to provide desperately needed help

Plans for a $5.9 million homeless shelter come with a promise that the Community Shelter Board hasn’t made in recent years: Officials vow to do away with waiting lists, and they say no one seeking refuge from the streets will be turned away.

“No human being should go unsheltered if they need shelter,” Executive Director Michelle Heritage said. “We’re ready to make that commitment.”

The board said yesterday that it has purchased a 62,000-square-foot building on 5 acres at 595 Van Buren Dr. in the West Edge Business Center, west of Downtown.

The site, formerly Columbus Paper Box, is to open next spring as a shelter for homeless men, women and families.

Shelter officials say the system needs a new, permanent shelter to handle the increase in homelessness. The building also is at the center of the board’s plans to revamp its operations for homeless adults and improve case management so that people don’t become homeless again.

“About 40 percent of women and 60 percent of men return to shelter,” Heritage said. “The average number is 3.4 times.”

She said the new shelter will serve as an intake point for newly homeless adults, be the new home for Rebecca’s Place women’s shelter, create space for extra beds during severe weather and make room to put up parents and children when the YWCA Family Center is over capacity.

Rebecca’s Place “served women from a dilapidated, crumbling facility that outlived its space years ago,” said Antonio Caffey of Southeast Inc., which manages the 47-bed women’s shelter on the East Side. The new site will afford clients more dignity and a safer environment, he said.

Kristen Daam, a case manager at Rebecca’s Place, said women have sometimes waited two weeks to get a shelter bed. “That’s too long to be out in the elements,” she said.

The board said it paid $2.3 million for the building. About $1 million comes from money that the city of Columbus previously gave the shelter board, and $1.3 million is through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.

Rehabilitation of the site is expected to cost about $3.6 million, with $1.7 million to come from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and $1.9 million through private fundraising.

“The agency has made more dollars available for homeless initiatives as we realize what a serious issue it is in the state of Ohio,” said Arlyne Alston, a spokeswoman for the finance agency.

The shelter board no longer has a lease on a building in Franklin Township that housed its overflow beds last winter. The location, next to a children’s day-care center, triggered controversy and a lawsuit. Shelter Board spokeswoman Sara Loken said any overflow this winter will need to be handled at existing shelters.

The YMCA of Central Ohio, YWCA Columbus and Southeast Inc. are to operate the new shelter. When complete, it will have 67 beds for women, 45 for men, room to add up to 138 overflow beds for single adults as needed, and 20 overflow beds for families with children.

Community meetings to discuss the plan are to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and next Thursday at LifeCare Alliance, 670 Harmon Ave.

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Local YMCA introduces new director, programs

The Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA's new executive director said he wants residents to know more of the story about their Y.

"We want to be known as a partner and collaborator to help when needed," Paul Westenheffer said. "When looking at planning, consider us. We need to hear from folks."

Westenheffer, who comes to the Gahanna branch after being director at the Hilltop Y, said he believes in the YMCA's mission to serve the whole community through programs that express Judeo-Christian principles and build a healthy spirit, mind and body.

Of the YMCA's 12 facilities in central Ohio, he said, Gahanna's serves the most clients -- more than 12,000 members.

"It can touch everyone in the community," Westenheffer said. "Anyone can be connected. The usage it gets is unbelievable, with 30-35,000 walk-throughs a month."

He said the largest program at Gahanna's 38,000-square-foot facility is swim lessons. Every seven weeks, 450 kids are taught how to swim, he said. The Y offers six sessions per year, Westenheffer said.

In addition to the indoor/outdoor pool and therapy pool, the facility features a full-size gymnasium, a fitness center and a multiuse room. Area off-site locations are the group exercise and fitness center at Clark Hall and day camp at the New Horizons Community Church.

With Gahanna's senior center and city pools slated for possible closure, pending the outcome of November's income-tax measure, Westenheffer said, opportunities are being explored whereby the Y might be able help.

"We like to view everything we do here as portable," he said. "Most of what we do here we can take on the road -- take it to a church or a city field."

A new program offering at the Y will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. The program is called "Parents Night Out for Special Needs Families."

"There are challenges with special-needs families," said Michael Sponhour, a Gahanna YMCA advisory board member.

For the past six months, the Gahanna Y also has offered Silver Sneakers, a program to help older adults take greater control of their health by encouraging physical activity and offering social events.

"We had over 3,000 Silver Sneaker visits last month," Westenheffer said. "I think that's significant."

The Gahanna Y also is a training location for Navy SEALS preparations.

Westenheffer said a retired Navy veteran there pushes young men through intensive training every weekday morning in preparation for the challenge to become a Navy SEAL.

"There are all these awesome things this Y has," he said. "I want to get the message out."

Sponhour said enough hasn't been done to tell what all is going on at the Y.

"The YMCA is also a social-service organization," he said. "We do a lot to help people. There are a lot of great fitness centers. We go beyond that."

In November, the Gahanna Y offers "One Meal at a Time," a program involving some of the Y's 100 volunteers who will deliver about 60 Thanksgiving meals and food vouchers.

"Everything the Y does comes back to a common tie," he said. "The Y can touch everyone."

In March 2014, the Gahanna YMCA will celebrate a decade of serving the local community.

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Y Staff recognized for commitment to Child Care

Congratulations to Nancy Brody (pictured on the right), Metropolitan School-Age Quality Education Resource Director for the YMCA of Central Ohio, who received an award from the Educational Council for her commitment and dedication to the field of School Age Child Care and her work on the Off To A Great Start Conference each year. Nancy received this special award during this year's Off To a Great Start Conference.

Becky Ciminillo, Executive Director of Child Care, said, "She always represents the Y in a great way to the community. I am very proud to work with her."

Bringing Healthy Habits Home

The Y is working to provide the healthiest environment possible for your children, and we also want to help you build a healthy home for your family.

Here are some tips:

  1. Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Turn off electronics and enjoy each other’s company.
  2. Make it easy for everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three options. Mix and match fresh, frozen and canned.
  3. Let family members serve themselves during meals to increase understanding of portion sizes and health food choices.
  4. Get moving daily with moderate to vigorous activities! Play music and dance after dinner or take a family walk. Make physical activity part of your normal routines by walking or biking to work or school.
  5. Make water your first drink choice at meals.

District, Y partner to keep kids on track in summer

Program focuses on nutritional, fitness needs as well as academic
ThisWeek Community News
Wednesday July 31, 2013 12:35 PM

The YMCA of Central Ohio is collaborating with the South-Western City School District to offer programs at four district schools this summer that combine reading and academic enhancement with youth enrichment activities.

"We've done programs for the district in the past, but this is the first time we've done a full-blown program that intertwines enrichment activities during the afternoon and an academic-based literacy program in the morning," said Nancy Brody, metropolitan school-age quality education research director for the YMCA.

The program originally was slated for Stiles Elementary School only, Brody said.

The Stiles sessions are being funded through a $30,000 grant from Y in the USA, the YMCA's national organization, she said.

"Stiles was selected for this program because of a combination of being a low-income school with a very high rate of free and reduced(-price) lunches plus a large number of English as a Second Language students," Brody said.

The school district asked if the YMCA would be willing to help organize summer programs at three other schools: Harmon and Prairie Lincoln elementary schools and Franklin Woods Intermediate School, she said. The activities at those three schools are being funded by the school district.

The YMCA has hired district teachers to conduct the morning educational sessions while Y employees mostly handle the afternoon enrichment program, Brody said.

At the elementary schools, students in kindergarten and first grade spend the morning working on their reading, writing and math skills, she said.

The reading work is designed in part to help students prepare for being able to meet the state's new third-grade reading guarantee and/or to keep their reading skills from falling behind while school is out for the summer, Brody said.

ESL students also are able to work on improving their English speaking skills, she said.

"We're trying to keep students and their teachers from having to take time at the start of the school year to catch up after the long summer," Brody said.

Students entering the fourth and fifth grades also are working to improve and maintain their reading skills at Franklin Woods, she said.

In the afternoon, students participate in a variety of enrichment activities, including swimming lessons, educational field trips, lessons on health and nutrition and at least one hour a day of physical fitness activities.

The summer program has run each Monday through Thursday since June 24 and will end today, Aug. 1.

"I was just out at Stiles and what's great is that the staff members and the children are so enthusiastic," Brody said. "Every staff member I spoke to asked if we could please, please do this program again next year. We'd love to do it again, but it will depend on whether funding is available."

"We've been able to include a lot of fun activities, both in the morning and afternoon, so the kids don't feel like they're spending the summer at school," said Mary Schneider, the YMCA's child-care director.

The food and nutrition aspect of the program is perhaps as important as the educational and fitness components, she said.

"The children are learning about the importance of eating healthy," Schneider said. "Some of them didn't realize, for example, how important it is to drink a lot of water."

Students receive two nutritious meals and a snack at the program each day, she said.

"The staff members say they can tell some of these kids, especially on Monday after the weekend, are hungry and perhaps haven't been able to have a complete meal at home," Schneider said.

Elana Lenihan, assistant child-care director, helps to oversee the Stiles program and said she has been thrilled with the youngsters' enthusiasm.

"The kids are so excited to learn," she said early this week. "We will not be doing our testing until (July 31), but I think it's certain we'll see some real educational benefits for the students."

A total of 146 students have participated in the program at the four schools, Brody said. The program also has been open to students from other district schools located near the host sites.

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CareSource Foundation Provides Funding for 30 Programs in Ohio

Dayton, Ohio (PRWEB) July 17, 2013

Dayton-based Foundation awards $301,000 in the second round of quarterly grants.

The CareSource Foundation recently awarded its second round of quarterly grants for 2013. The Foundation provides grants to organizations in health and human services domains with a focus on children’s health, community health issues, special needs populations, and strategies to address the medically uninsured throughout the state of Ohio.

The CareSource Foundation was created to fund non-profit programs that share the Foundation’s mission of advancing the health and well-being of underserved people in the communities they serve by providing innovative solutions and funding to address health care needs. Programs awarded grants have been chosen because of their work to promote the well-being of people they interact with as well as their dedication to creating change. Two examples of CareSource Foundation grants from this quarter include:

Eastway is the largest provider of mental and behavioral health care in Ohio and serve more than 10,000 individuals each year through a network of integrated services such as psychiatric outpatient care, primary care and pharmacy. They provide residential treatment and on-site education for adolescents. The CareSource Foundation grant of $28,500 will help support the new 22-acre Ranch of Opportunity—a safe residential treatment environment for teen girls who are victims of physical, sexual and mental abuse. The rural setting of Washington Courthouse, Ohio and the interaction with highly skilled therapists will promote healing, self-confidence and family support. Based in Montgomery County, Eastway serves individuals in 27 Ohio counties.

Homefull, formerly The Other Place, was founded in 1988 to meet the challenging needs of the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Montgomery County. Their services include street outreach, prevention and diversion programs, micro-farming, and rapid rehousing. The $20,000 grant provided by the CareSource Foundation will support the Homefull Resource Center which helps connects individuals with social services, utility assistance, community resources, legal aid and housing-related mediation to reduce homelessness.

Additional CareSource Foundation grant recipients include:

1. Akron Children’s Hospital: $10,000 grant to provide bilingual health workers to assist with a growing Burmese and Nepali refugee resettlement community in Akron.
2. Asian Services in Action: $7,500 grant to support the comprehensive health and social services of the International Community Health Center in Cleveland.
3. Boonshoft Museum of Discovery: $7,500 grant to fund “Exhibits-to-Go” mobile health-related programming for K-8 students in 2,500 classrooms across the state of Ohio.
4. Carmella Rose Health Foundation: $3,000 grant to support a community patient navigator position for a network of 12 emergency shelters and pantries in Northeast Ohio.
5. Children’s Defense Fund: $15,000 grant to expand the Freedom Schools summer program to four sites in Dayton which will include 50 in-care foster children.
6. East End Community Services: $15,000 grant to support the Family Wellness Program which focuses on physical and emotional health education for Latino, African American and Appalachian parents in East Dayton.
7. Family Nurturing Center (Cincinnati): $10,000 grant to support services for children who are separated from a parent due to abuse, mental health disorders, substance abuse, or homelessness.
8. Franciscan Shelters: Bethany House (Toledo): $7,500 grant to support safe shelter operations for mothers and children who have experienced domestic violence.
9. Friends of Aullwood (Dayton): $10,000 grant to provide outdoor learning at the Aullwood Preschool, the first farm-based Head Start preschool in the United States.
10. Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio: $10,000 grant to help advocate for the Lucas County Initiative to Improve Birth Outcomes which includes care coordinators working directly with young mothers to ensure healthy deliveries.
11. Humility of Mary Health Partners Foundation: $10,000 grant to provide oral health screenings for children and breast cancer screenings for low-income women in the Youngstown area.
12. Mercy Neighborhood Ministries: $8,000 grant to expand home care support for low-income senior adults in Cincinnati.
13. National Alliance of Mental Illness: $6,500 grant to sustain the Multicultural Action Center which addresses disparities in mental health treatment and outreach for minorities in Cleveland.
14. New Creation Counseling Center: $15,000 grant to build capacity for health screenings and referral services for low-income adults and families in Miami County.
15. One Way Farm of Fairfield: $7,500 grant to provide a residential safe haven for abused, abandoned and neglected children throughout Ohio.
16. Oxford Free Clinic: $10,000 grant to help support low-cost primary care for the rural communities of Oxford and College Corner.
17. Suicide Prevention Center: $5,500 grant to sustain the “Project Lifesaver” K-12 suicide prevention education program for students in Montgomery and neighboring counties.
18. Suicide Prevention Education Alliance: $6,500 grant to provide “Recognizing Teen Depression and Preventing Suicide” for 16,000 students in 105 Ohio high schools in NE Ohio.
19. United Rehabilitation Services of Greater Dayton: $15,000 grant to provide a sensory-rich childcare environment for children with special needs.
20. United Way of Greater Toledo: $10,000 grant to support the “Mobile Vision Program” which provides school-based eye care services including vision exams and fittings for glasses.
21. Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio: $15,000 grant to support advocacy for high quality, accessible, affordable healthcare for all Ohioans including 1.5 million uninsured residents.
22. University District Freedom School: $7,000 grant to provide health programming and nutrition for 100 low-income students in Columbus participating in the Freedom School program.
23. Voices of Youth: $5,000 grant to support programs that work with young adults in transition from mental health treatment centers to independent living in the Trumbull County region.
24. Women Helping Young Mothers: $6,000 grant to assist young parents who are going through crisis situations including divorce, domestic violence, limited parenting skills or homelessness in Sandusky County.
25. YMCA of Central Ohio: $10,000 grant to allow the Early Childhood Resource Network to provide hearing, vision and developmental screenings for low-income children in Columbus.
26. Youth Challenge (Cleveland): $10,000 grant to provide adapted sports and recreational programs for children with physical disabilities.
27. Youth Entrepreneurship Development Foundation: $5,000 grant to fund the “Living Healthy Fit” afterschool program for 100 students in the Dayton region in partnership with NASA, the Tiger Woods Foundation and GetUp Montgomery County.
28. YWCA of Warren: $5,000 grant to launch the “Girls Circle” program to address behavioral, emotional and family issues of at-risk middle and high-school students in the Trumbull County region.

About CareSource
CareSource is a non-profit health plan headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. As one of the largest Medicaid managed care plans in the country, CareSource understands the challenges consumers face navigating the health system. We are committed to putting health care within reach for approximately 900,000 members we serve in Ohio and Kentucky.

Link to Article


614 224 9622

Corporate Caring: YMCA of Central Ohio

Jul 19, 2013, 6:00am EDT

Melissa Kossler Dutton | For Business First

As the focus of health care in the United States shifts to models based on prevention efforts and successful outcomes, leaders of the nation’s YMCA facilities see opportunities to make a difference.

Y facilities have the potential to help individuals and communities improve their health, said Andrew Roberts, president of the YMCA of Central Ohio.

Ys have the buildings, staff, equipment and passion to help people develop healthy lifestyles and prevent the onset of chronic diseases, Roberts said.
“We are positioning the YMCA to become community-based providers of evidence-based prevention efforts,” he said.

Link to Article


614 224 9622

Staying Safe in the Water

By Elissa James
Executive Director of Risk Management & Aquatics

Summer is officially here, and we are excited to have our YMCA members and families swimming at our pools. We want to make sure everyone has a safe, fun summer at the Y, so here are a few tips to keep in mind as you pack up to head to the pool.

  1. Lifeguards
    Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty. Never swim alone.
  2. Supervision
    Adults should be poolside watching kids in the water at all times. Our lifeguards are on duty, but we need your help with keeping everyone safe at the Y. Never leave a child unattended around a pool, spa, bathtub or any body of water.
  3. Life jackets
    Inexperienced swimmers should swim only using a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device and be within arm's reach of an adult at all times. The life jackets will say "USCG approved" or a similar phrase inside the vest, so look for this marking every time you use a life jacket.
  4. Reach or Throw. Don't Go.
    If you see someone in danger, try to reach to them with an object or throw an item that floats, such as a life jacket. As a non-swimmer, do not enter the water to try and help.
  5. Follow the Rules
    Follow any posted rules at the pool. They are there to protect you from harm.
  6. Brush Up on Your Skills
    Learn lifesaving skills such a CPR for adults, children, and infants. You never know when it may be needed.
  7. It's Never Too Late for Swim Lessons
    Learning to swim has the potential to save your own life or the life of someone you love. The YMCA offers lessons for all ages. Click here for more information.


Elissa James

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City Of Columbus And Casino Invest In West Side Community Fund


COLUMBUS, Ohio - Columbus City Council made its first investment into the West Side Community Fund that supports West Columbus neighborhoods around the Hollywood Casino.

$125,000 will be used to support the Hilltop YMCA.  Penn National Gaming, which runs the casino, said it matched the investment.

"We're proud to partner with Hollywood Casino to invest in the great neighborhood that surrounds it," Columbus mayor Michael Coleman said. "The Hilltop YMCA has been a valuable community resource on the West Side for more than half a century, and it is highly deserving of this first major investment."

The money helped the Hilltop YMCA expand its facilities including: new gym space, childcare area and rooms for health education and programs.
"A lot of people have talked about the west side as being a community in need," said Andrew Roberts, CEO of Central Ohio YMCA. "We're not the only solution, but we're happy to be here and offer our humble contribution to the quality of life."

Eventually, the city and casino hope to invest millions of dollars back into the community. They city wants the West Side Community Fund to hit $5 million within the next two years. The city and Penn National Gaming will split the cost to reach the goal.

Local business owner Benny Phillips said he's hoping for a spark that helps revitalize the West side.
"I know what businesses used to do here," he said. "I'd like to see it get back to that point again. And I think it can."

Link to Article


Thank you Chipotle!


Thanks to everyone for making eating a selfless act by joining us for a fundraiser to support the Hoover YMCA Park Learning Garden.

As a result, more than $3,400 was raised in support of the Hoover Y Park Learning Garden.  These funds will support education programs to help kids learn more about where their food comes from, and will also support the donation of thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to local food pantries.

Chipotle partnered with Hoover YMCA Park Learning Garden, because they think it’s important that people understand where real food is grown and where it comes from.

When we work together, the YMCA can do SO MUCH MORE for our community!

About the Garden

The Hoover YMCA Park Learning Garden is a two acre garden on YMCA property located in Lockbourne, Ohio, just south of Columbus. It is a chemical free garden that uses natural methods for pest control and weeds. The garden is a partnership between the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, the YMCA of Central Ohio and with support from Local Matters and Chipotle. The goal of the Learning Garden is to teach the community about where their vegetables come from and how they can utilize natural methods to create gardens at home.  Over 1,000 children visit the Hoover Y Park during the summer day-camp season and are involved in programs in the garden.

A wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables are grown in the garden including eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins, watermelon, beans, collards, kale, spinach, arugula, many lettuce varieties, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet and hot peppers, fennel, and a variety of other culinary herbs. The garden also includes a significant variety of annual and perennial flowers, which aide in pollination of the garden.

In 2012, over 3,700 pounds of produce grown in the garden was donated to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, Faith Mission Ministries, and the St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantries.  With Chipotle's support, the Garden began its first CSA program in 2013.  For every CSA share purchased, a share is given to a family in need.  Over 100 families in need throughout central Ohio are now receiving a weekly bag of fresh fruits and veggies from the Garden.  And we're on target to surpass 4,000 pounds of produce donated to Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Faith Mission, and St. Vincent Food Pantries this year!

For more information about the garden, please contact the Hoover Y Park Executive Director, Pam Slater, at pslater@ymcacolumbus.org.



Y Camp Kids Bring Joy to Patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Saturday, June 22, campers from our St. Anthony’s summer camp site spent time making bears during the grand re-opening of Build-A-Bear at the Easton Town Center.  All the bears made were donated to the young patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to help brighten their day.  Our campers also got a chance to participate in the official ribbon cutting ceremony with “Bearemy.”  


YMCA of Central Ohio Announces New Chairman of the Board

[Columbus - May 1, 2013]  The YMCA of Central Ohio has selected Hal Keller, President, Ohio Capital Corporation as the new Chairman of its Metropolitan General Board of Trustees.  Keller was appointed to the position, which carries a two-year term on April 16, 2013, during the YMCA of Central Ohio’s annual meeting.  He will succeed Roger P. Sugarman of Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter, who completed his term as chair.

“Hal Keller is an outstanding 12 year board member and policy volunteer at the Y and we are excited and grateful for his board presidency,” said Andrew A. Roberts, President, YMCA of Central Ohio.  “On behalf of the rest of the Board of Directors and the Y, we are enthusiastic to channel Hal’s vision, humanity and love for our cause and look forward to leveraging those attributes on behalf of those we serve.”

In his capacity at the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, Keller oversees all corporate policy and fiscal affairs, including securing corporate investors for Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity funds and coordinating efforts to develop housing projects receiving equity investment from the Ohio Equity Funds.  To date, the Ohio Capital Corporation has generated more than $2.5 billion in corporate equity for LIHTC projects involving more than 600 transactions and 30,000 units of affordable housing in Ohio and Kentucky.

“The YMCA impacts the lives of thousands in central Ohio every year and I am honored to serve as chair of this important organization,” said Hal Keller, Chairman, Metropolitan General Board of Trustees.  “I am excited to continue working with the YMCA as we strengthen our programs and develop new ways to improve the quality of life in our community.”

Keller has served on the Metropolitan General Board of Trustees since 2001 and previously served on the Downtown YMCA Consulting Board.  As a long-time supporter of the Y, he was also instrumental in securing the renovation tax credit financing for the Downtown YMCA building.  His career in affordable housing spans more than 30 years as a consultant to state, local governments, an administrator of state and local housing programs, and as a neighborhood organizer and tenant advocate.  Keller holds Master of Arts degrees in Public Administration and Social Work from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Social Science from Case Western Reserve University.

For more information, contact:

Andrew A. Roberts
YMCA of Central Ohio

About the YMCA of Central Ohio

The Y is one of Central Ohio’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  We are a diverse association of men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life, joined by a shared commitment to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve our community’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support our neighbors.  As part of the fabric of Central Ohio for nearly 160 years, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.  ymcacolumbus.org.


Precor Grant Supports the YMCA of Central Ohio’s Efforts to Curb Childhood Obesity

[COLUMBUS, ARPIL 10, 2013]– The YMCA of Central Ohio received a $3,000 grant from Precor to support efforts to help children in central Ohio live healthier lives through the implementation of the Y’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards in early childhood and afterschool programs.  Adopting these standards is part of the Y’s commitment to first lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America to help curb childhood obesity.

“As a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y takes its responsibility seriously, by helping those most in need,” said Andrew A. Roberts, President of YMCA of Central Ohio.  “YMCAs are one of the largest providers of early childhood and afterschool programs in the nation. Now, by adopting standards that will help our kids make better food and activity choices, we strive to be the healthiest.”

The YMCA of Central Ohio serves 2,500 children in our our child care programs each day.

All early childhood and afterschool programs are implementing the HEPA standards, which include: 

·         Establishing a minimum of expected physical activity for children of different ages enrolled in Y programs;

·         Defining food and beverages offerings, including designating water as the primary beverage during snack times and offering fruits and vegetables as snack options;

·         Limiting the amount of screen time  (watching TV, playing video games, and using computers);

·         Encouraging breastfeeding of infants in the Y’s care; and

·         Committing Ys to conducting parent education to encourage healthy behaviors at home.

“Like the Y,Precor believes that lasting personal and social change can only come about when we all work together to invest in our kids, our health, our neighbors, and our community,” said Paul Byrne, President. “By collaborating, we have a greater potential to help more people make positive lifestyle choices.”

The YMCA of Central Ohio is one of 50 YMCAs to receive a grant from Precor as part of the $300,000 gift to YMCA of the USA, the resource office for the nation’s YMCAs, to support the implementation of the HEPA standards in YMCA early childhood and afterschool programs.  Locally the funding will be used to support infrastructure opportunities such as purchasing supplies and equipment, and staff trainings that can help the YMCA to provide a healthy sustainable environment in an early childhood or afterschool site.

About Precor
Precor designs and builds premium fitness equipment for effective workouts that feel smooth and natural.  Our equipment is chosen by health clubs, hotels, spas and individuals all over the world.  For nearly three decades, we’re driven fitness forward with a passionate focus on ergonomic motion, proven science, and superior engineering.  We constantly study and anticipate the needs of the people and organizations we serve, and continually redefine the levels of innovation, quality and service necessary to deliver the very best fitness experiences – all with the goal of improving the ways people improve themselves.  precor.com

About the YMCA of Central Ohio

The Y is one of Central Ohio’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  We are a diverse association of men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life, joined together by a shared commitment to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve our community’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support our neighbors.  As part of the fabric of Central Ohio for nearly 160 years, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.  ymcacolumbus.org.


Becky Ciminillo

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Siblings of those with disabilities tackle life, fun in tandem

By  Rita Price
The Columbus Dispatch Monday April 8, 2013 8:56 AM
BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio — The tandem swing goes so high it requires harnesses and a hoist, plus safety helmets and nerve. More than a few of the would-be riders looked up — 34 feet up, to be exact — and balked.

Barb Sapharas listened to the coaching that ensued and smiled. Each set of swing partners were siblings, one with a lifelong disability and one without, ready again to laugh and love each other through something scary.

“Pretty cool,” said Sapharas, board chairman of Ohio SIBS, an organization for adult siblings of people with developmental disabilities and their families.

SIBS members and staff from Ohio State University’s Nisonger Center on Disabilities hosted a retreat for the sibling pairs over the weekend at YMCA Camp Willson, home of the giant swing.

See more photos from the Ohio SIBS retreat

Tom Fish, director of social work and family support services at Nisonger, said the retreat is the only one in the nation that mixes fun with a focus on transition, teaching the typical siblings how they can best help their brothers and sisters make the transition to adult services, employment and independent living.

“Those things will determine the rest of her life — her happiness,” said Michelle Long, whose 17-year-old sister, Julia Truby, has Down syndrome. “I want to influence that.”

The brothers and sisters of people with disabilities don’t often participate in early planning and service arrangement, Sapharas said, then face a steep learning curve if they inherit responsibility after parents pass away. Better to keep everyone in the fold from the beginning, she said.

“Siblings are the longest relationships in life,” she said. “I like to say we’re the first friend and the first playmate, although maybe not by choice. We’re the first tormenters. And probably their first advocates.”

Paige and Hanna McCaslin, 17-year-old twins, tackled the giant swing the same way they approach lots of tasks — with hands clasped. Hanna has autism; Paige does not.

“We’re still the other half of each other,” Paige said. “We’re super, super tight. Without her, I’d be crushed.”

Paige has seen and heard her share of not-so-nice teens who pick on people who are different. Because of Hanna, she could never be one of them.

“Without her, I might be that person,” Paige said. “She makes me better.”

Anthony Cummerlander, 19, told his sister to take a picture of him before he got on the swing and send it to their mom. He felt that he was doing a very “Gonzo” thing, a reference to the beloved Muppet character tucked in his jacket.

Lauren Cummerlander, 22, enjoyed their swing session. “It’s kind of like being shot out of a cannon, I think,” she said.

But she was grateful for the retreat’s serious side and the chance to talk in depth about how she and other typical siblings can help chart futures. “You know it’s coming someday,” Lauren said of her role.

Oftentimes, of course, the siblings with disabilities need no help at all. Tables turn.

“Kyle!” yelled his sister, Alison McKay, as she was strapped into the harness for the swing. “ Why are you making me do this?”

“Because,” said Kyle, who has Down syndrome. “It’s good for you.”

Link to Article


Cooks with a purpose serve food for thought

By  Kevin Joy
The Columbus Dispatch Tuesday April 2, 2013 9:04 AM
Beneath a string of bright paper lanterns, 20 guests dined on mismatched vintage china around a long table made of reclaimed wood. 

Pitchers of grapefruit cocktails and locally made spirits were offered. Old records of Italian pop songs played on a stereo. 

The comfortable scene with its cool guests suggested a hip magazine spread on entertaining.

Yet, aided by an unlikely group of line cooks, the setting inside the frills-free Downtown YMCA reflected a deeper purpose.

Graduates of Catch Court — a Franklin County program that helps prostitutes kick abusive men, drugs and the related lifestyle — prepared a high-end menu of celery-root salad, garlic soup, chorizo and honeycomb flan.

The gourmet food puts a face on Freedom a la Cart, which employs eight people part time.

“It’s showing that these women, some of them who have never worked in the kitchen or held a job on paper before, are capable of creating this elevated product,” said executive chef Lara Yazvac, formerly of the Northstar Cafe.

Profits from the meal — at $50 a person — benefited Doma, a nonprofit that helps survivors of human trafficking.

In business since 2011, Freedom a la Cart ranks among other little-known food operations throughout central Ohio whose menus are seasoned with large helpings of charity.

Here’s a sampling of the outreach efforts and their diverse culinary offerings:

Furthering a mission
The owner of Boujhetto’s doesn’t consider her business a restaurant.

It is, as a vibrant mural declares, “A Marlene Carson Vision.”

The vision extends to her daily homemade spread of soul food, featuring marshmallow-topped yams, pickles marinated in Kool-Aid, and beef brisket made from her mother’s recipe.

A closer look around the establishment at 2458 Cleveland Ave. reveals an altruistic mission: A window poster alerts passers-by to the plague of modern slavery.

Another by the cash register depicts police photos of battered women and girls trapped in the sex trade.

Boujhetto’s — whose name merges bougie (French for “candle”) and ghetto — serves cuisine as a means to support Rahab’s Hideaway, Carson’s safe house for exploited women.

All nine female employees, who are paid for their work, are survivors of human trafficking.

“With funding so limited, this is another way to help,” said Carson, 50, a Columbus native who was led into prostitution as an eighth-grader and, as an adult, became an advocate for women who face similar problems. Tylondia Pruitt, a Boujhetto’s cook, joked about how she “didn’t know how to boil water for eggs” until last year. Since then, the 29-year-old said, she has “learned how to provide for my family” of two children.

Carson, recently featured on Oprah Winfrey’s official website, plans to expand her payroll — and her reach — with a food truck in the summer.

Despite the dire circumstances that inspired the business, mealtime remains a happy time.

“When you come in,” said Carson, 50, “I want you to feel love and family.”

Feeding the masses
Catering in the name of charity can prove effective, too. For a decade, LifeCare Alliance has operated the for-profit LA Catering inside the group’s West Side facility on Harmon Avenue.

It shares a kitchen with Meals-on-Wheels but might offer more upscale eats, such as rosemary-shrimp skewers and romaine salad with ahi tuna.

Stemming largely from wedding parties and corporate orders, earnings support the nonprofit, which helps senior citizens with services such as cancer screenings, a food pantry and domestic-violence prevention.

“The vast majority of folks like that they know where the money’s going,” CEO Chuck Gehring said.

Lauren Wilson, general manager of Freshbox Catering, agreed.

A philanthropic connection resonates with customers , said Wilson, whose Downtown operation is owned by Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio .

With guidance and training, homeless residents of the Faith Mission shelter prepare gourmet sandwiches and salads for box lunches — with bulk orders bound for customers ranging from corporations to church groups.

Workers are paid and receive counseling to help secure jobs in the hospitality industry.

Some clients choose Freshbox for its menu. And plenty of others do so for the food.

“We don’t expect anyone to make a concession on quality and service just because we have a great social mission,” said Wilson, adding that 22 Freshbox alumni have found permanent employment and housing since 2010.

“But it definitely gives us an edge.”

Making a mark
A similar edge has helped Freedom a la Cart expand beyond its original venture: a food cart that travels to festivals and is expected to return Downtown this spring.

(Standard street meat, it isn’t: The cart has featured chimichurri roast beef, white-bean empanadas, sweet-potato soup and ginger lemonade.)

In July, the cooks inhabited an old commercial kitchen in the YMCA, 40 W. Long St. Prep work was previously done at Double Happiness, a Brewery District bar.

The permanence has helped birth a lunch counter on the Y’s first floor as well as a growing catering business that has fed, among others, Gov. John Kasich and executives of the United Way and Women’s Fund of Central Ohio.

And the supper club, introduced in January, will continue: Dinners are planned for Friday and Saturday, with RSVP details on Facebook.

During the last such gathering, attendees knew that their money would support Doma outreach (and help pay the staff), but that back story wasn’t discussed at the table.

North Side resident Nick Nelson, 31, viewed the meal as atypical advocacy — “a neat way to address . . . a problem right in our backyard.”

Missions needn’t preach, said Freedom a la Cart founder Julie Clark, but positive messages can be marketable.

With her staff as proof, she envisions a series of franchised restaurants.

“The survivors we employ,” Clark said, “are capable of anything.”


Link to Article


How to Handel loiterers? Give ’em a blast of the classics

By  Kevin Joy
The Columbus Dispatch Sunday March 24, 2013 9:11 AM
On a recent Tuesday evening, two men were arguing on the sidewalk outside the Downtown YMCA.

As the exchange grew more heated, Sue Darby turned up the volume on a set of speakers affixed to the building exterior.

The defuser: Antonio Vivaldi.

The delicate orchestral strains of the Four Seasons concertos prompted the opponents to walk away.

“I feel like it’s a positive approach,” said Darby, executive director of the Y, at 40 W. Long St. “People don’t tend to stand around. There’s a sense of security.”

Since January at the Y, an iPod loaded with classical music has played repeatedly from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily.

The speakers on the building were donated by the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District, which represents Downtown property owners.

Although such a soundtrack might be regarded as a pleasant diversion — a welcome cultural boost, even — by many people, another motive is at play.

The music is designed as a social deterrent.

A recent survey of Y fitness-center members revealed concerns about sidewalk loitering, which the 400 residents of the facility aren’t allowed to do. A rooming house across the street and an adjacent mental-health center sometimes exacerbate the clusters, Darby said.

The unorthodox sonic approach isn’t new.

Some Short North residents have come to know the classical repertoire blasting outside the United Dairy Farmers store at 900 N. High St.

Although a manager on duty said the practice, about a year old, has “done what it’s supposed to do,” shopper Daveione Fluellen said he continues to see panhandlers hanging around.

Still, “It’s peaceful,” said Fluellen, 20, as a Mozart selection played in the background.Officials at the corporate offices of UDF didn’t respond to three messages left by The Dispatch regarding the music.

Cleve Ricksecker, who lives in Victorian Village, considers the classical sounds a blessing.

“They used to have what appeared to be some petty drug dealers hanging out in front” of the convenience store, said Ricksecker, executive director of both the Capital Crossroads and Discovery special-improvement districts.

“All those people just disappeared when the speakers went up.”

His hunch: “There’s something about baroque music that macho wannabe-gangster types hate. At the very least, it has a calming effect.”

The theory might have some merit.

Daniel Levitin, a psychology professor at McGill University in Montreal and author of This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, said reactions depend on people’s tastes.

When he used scanners to monitor brain activity, a subject’s amygdala — the part of the brain governing emotions that can initiate a fight-or-flight response — was triggered after hearing music perceived to be unpleasant.

Whether one dislikes classical works or classic rock, Levitin said, audio aversion is far more innate than, say, negative visual stimuli because “there isn’t much you can do to get out of its way other than moving yourself.”

A crescendo effect seems evident.

Strains of opera and choral tunes have permeated a city train station in Portland, Ore, for more than two years — resulting in a reduction in service calls for help, The Oregonian reported. Similar success has been noted by small businesses in Seattle.

In New York, a public-spaces planning group touted such sounds as a boost to “overall ambience” at the city’s Port Authority bus station.

And, in Minneapolis, classical music was added last year to a troublesome light-rail vestibule as part of a “suite” of upgrades that included better lighting, security cameras and an increased police presence.

John Siqveland, spokesman for the Minneapolis Metro Transit system, said the situation has improved. Although he couldn’t quantify the direct effect of Beethoven, he called the aural component “fast, cheap and easy.”

One rider, he said, sent email to request the playlist.

Ricksecker has proposed installing speakers that play classical music at several Downtown Columbus spots known to attract loiterers, but he said property owners declined the offer.

COTA spokesman Brian Hoyt said the city’s public-transit authority hasn’t considered playing classical music at bus stops or inside vehicles, citing a lack of need.

And, he added: “It’s impossible to determine one type of music our passengers would like or dislike."

What might it say about society when fine arts are used as a weapon?

The Columbus Symphony declined to comment. So did folks at classical radio station WOSA (101.1 FM).

But Timothy Russell, the outgoing music director of ProMusica, sees the debate from both sides — with an opportunity, he hopes, for an unintended outcome.

“First of all, I am always happy when people are listening to classical music,” said Russell, who is set to retire this summer after 34 seasons, “but I am sorry if people want to use it as a social deterrent.“

Part of me might hope that they actually just sit around and keep listening.”

Link to Article


Grove City YMCA Launches Diabetes Prevention Program

GROVE CITY, Ohio - The YMCA of Central Ohio is one of 17 groups across the country to participate in a project to reduce diabetes.

The Grove City YMCA launched its prevention program on Wednesday.

Under the program, participants at risk for Type 2 diabetes gets weekly lessons on nutrition and fitness to help reduce the chance for the disease.

The 16-week program has a goal of reducing each participant's weight by seven percent.

"It's really fun," said Andrew Roberts of the YMCA of Central Ohio. "It's not a diet. It's not something that is difficult to participate in. It's really about changing the way people think about their behavior."

The pilot program is an effort to reduce the cost of diabetes to taxpayers in the form of health care costs.

Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for more information.

Link to Article


Downtown Columbus YMCA Stands Tall, Serves All

by Walker

At 91 years old, the Downtown YMCA in Columbus stands as one of the city’s more ornate historic buildings that has stood the test of time. Its dark bricks and decorative stonework symbolizes the level of attention to detail that is a part of the mission of the YMCA when making a long-lasting impact upon the community.

Inside the YMCA is a similar story. Health and wellness are obviously at the core of the facility, but some people may not be aware of how the many different types of programs and services reach across multiple socioeconomic levels and positively affect so many people in different ways.

We spoke recently with Sue Darby, the new Executive Director of the Downtown Branch of the YMCA to find out more about the history of the building as well as the services and programs offered within.

Walker Evans: To start, what can you tell us about the history of the YMCA in Columbus?

Sue Darby: In the 1890′s, men didn’t just “go to the Y,” they belonged to it, became part of it. Although branches of sorts existed at The Ohio State University and the old Union Station, there was no YMCA facility for men to go to for physical exercise, a class, or quiet reading time. All of that changed in 1893 with the opening of the original Central YMCA on Third Street, Downtown, the first of many dedicated facilities the Association would own and operate in the years to come.

The YMCA’s evolving and rather simplistic reputation as a “health club” was already evident in its turn-of-the-century facilities. In 1922, the Downtown YMCA located at 40 West Long Street was born. However, it offered far more than physical fitness to its membership of young working men, many of whom were new to city life and often undereducated. Anxious to learn, the men joined discussion groups and frequented the building’s extensive library. The YMCA’s classes in business and trades were eventually recognized as the YMCA Schools, which still exists today as Franklin University.

As the Association grew in membership, so did its geographical reach. The YMCA established a presence in the city’s South Side, then a bustling center of local industry, to serve the large number of factory and steel mill workers there. Also, the YMCA began acquiring open land in earnest, south of Columbus and as far away as Bellefontaine, in anticipation of its first forays into camping, particularly for youth — a YMCA tradition to this day.

WE: In more recent years, there’s been a renewed emphasis on Downtown revitalization through residential development, retail businesses and public infrastructure investment. What role does the YMCA play as a Downtown anchor?

SD: Because of the central location of our Y, we have been able to connect all the districts together: Short North, Old Towne, Clintonville, Franklinton. With the growing young adult population living Downtown, we have seen such a growth. They want to join a movement – something more than a gym but a mission minded organization that gives back to their community.

The City has always asked us to the table in big discussions. Since our successful supportive housing program (over 600 men are provided a home), we were asked to help with the shelter system. Two years ago we opened an overflow shelter unit that provides bed for 190 men and women that live off the land.

We also are the leaders in Diabetes Prevention Program – looked at nationally for our success.

WE: What types of services, events and programming does the YMCA offer that most people don’t know about?

SD: The supportive housing mentioned above and our Diabetes Prevention Program. We also have our Positive Alternative Learning for Students (PALS) program that’s housed at our branch. PALS is a structured and supervised environment for students who have been suspended from school. Students who are on 3, 5, and 10 day suspensions are referred to PALS by local public school systems, juvenile courts, departments of human services and parents. We had over 1,500 different kids come through our doors last school year.

We also have the Corporate Challenge – play to give. Through sports and recreation events, we bring employees of local businesses together.

Corporate wellness is another program. We offer corporate health and wellness programming t match the needs of companies, large or small. We are in partnership with Children’s Hospital, AEP, State Auto, Grange and many others.

WE: When talking about health and fitness services, what differentiates the YMCA from gyms or other fitness facilities?

SD: First, we are a non-profit. So memberships bring about meaningful change, not just within yourself, but in the community. Also, all group exercise classes are included in membership and we offer Membership For All, which means we base your membership rate off your income. We want everyone to have a Y experience.

WE: I’ve heard about potential plans for converting the building to have a rooftop garden where vegetables could be grown. Can you tell us more about that concept?

SD: A rooftop garden is a dream we hope to bring into reality. It not only will provide 400 pounds of fresh produce to our 403 residents, but it will give our men an opportunity to take care of garden. We want to continue our cause in strengthening the community.

Q: Anything else you want to add about the Downtown YMCA… past, present or future?

A: We will continue to be the leaders in chronic disease. We have our Livestrong program that focuses on cancer survivors, our New U that helps kids that our medically obese find hope and success, and our diabetes prevention/management classes.

For more information, visit ymcacolumbus.org/downtown


Link to Article


Media Alert — Grove City YMCA to Launch Diabetes Prevention Program for Individuals over Age 60

YMCA of Central Ohio among 17 Y’s Across the Nation to Test Cost Effectiveness among Medicare Recipients

Tracy Ross - Executive Director, American Diabetes Association
Ellen Grubb - Older active adult and program participant
Andrew A. Roberts - CEO  & President, YMCA of Central Ohio
Tony Delisio - Executive Director, Grove City YMCA
Caroline Rankin - Director, YMCA of Central Ohio Diabetes Programming    
YMCA of Central Ohio Diabetes Prevention Program

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
10:00 am

Grove City YMCA
3600 Discovery Drive
Grove City, OH  43123
*A & B Conference Rooms

The YMCA of Central Ohio was selected to participate in a demonstration projection to assess the effectiveness of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program in lowering incidences of type 2 diabetes and reducing the cost burden of the condition on the health care system.  The YMCA of Central Ohio is among 17 Y’s across the nation selected to participate in a project that, if successful, could save millions in future health care costs and create an infrastructure for how community based organizations deliver health care services to the Medicare population with prediabetes.
The event is designed to inform Medicare recipients about the new program and its benefits.  Healthy snacks will be provided and guests will have an opportunity to hear from someone from the Medicare population that has benefitted from the Diabetes Prevention Program. 

Níel M. Jurist
PR Specialist
YMCA of Central Ohio

Obamacare pilot to prevent diabetes starting at YMCA

Carrie Ghose
Staff reporter - Business First

The YMCA of Central Ohio will start enrolling Medicare recipients this month for a diabetes prevention demonstration project under Obamacare that if successful in reducing medical bills could become a standard benefit.

The Columbus-based branch is one of 17 nationwide participating in the program that coaches participants on diet and fitness to help prevent diabetes from developing. The program is open to those covered by Medicare, the federal insurance for those age 65 and older, who are showing symptoms that they’re at risk for type 2 diabetes.

As I reported in July, the YMCA started the coaching program two years ago with insurer UnitedHealthcare and still offers it for its at-risk members in Central Ohio.

YMCA of the USA was awarded the $12 million grant to start the Medicare project over the summer and the final clearance came now from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The goal is to enroll 10,000 participants across the 17 regions, and the individual YMCAs will be reimbursed afterward.

Informational sessions and diabetes screenings for Medicare recipients start next week

Link to Article


Diabetes prevention program open to Medicare recipients

(by Tara Figurski, staff writer - February 27, 2013)

More than 1,000 people have participated in diabetes prevention courses since the YMCA of Central Ohio launched its program in 2010. YMCA officials hope to see an increase in demand now that the classes can be paid through Medicare.

More than 79 million Americans are at risk for diabetes, said Caroline Rankin, director of the YMCA of Central Ohio’s diabetes prevention program.

“Diabetes is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and nerve damage,” she said.

The National Center for Disease Control estimates one of every two Americans will have diabetes by 2030. This can be deterred through prevention, Rankin said.

“The projections are astronomical,” Rankin said. “We need to find a way to help people live healthier lifestyles.”

The YMCA has offered prevention programs since 2010, but Medicare recipients were not eligible to participate, according to Rankin.

When the program started it was offered to individuals insured through United Healthcare or through self-pay, said Barbara Camfield, Hilltop YMCA.

The bulk of the participants came from United Healthcare and were identified as having a potential for diabetes through a health scan, Camfield said.

Rankin said through the Affordable Care Act the YMCA of Central Ohio was one of 17 YMCA programs across the country selected to deliver the program to individuals receiving Medicare Part A and Part B.

“The program is for those at risk for diabetes,” Camfield said.

In addition to receiving Medicare, participants must also qualify by being diagnosed as “pre-diabetic,” which means having an elevated glucose level without diabetes and a body mass index of 25 or above, Rankin said.

The program focuses on lifestyle changes, Rankin said. Weight loss of 7 percent and 150 minutes of physical activity per week can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by 58 percent.

Pre-diabetes threatens more than 50 percent of adults over age 65, Rankin said.

“To change a habit you have to have a new habit,” Rankin said. “We have seen great success. This is about helping them figure out what are habits and changes you can make.”

Camfield said the diabetes prevention program is offered once a week for 16 weeks. Each class focuses on one particular aspect of prevention, like healthy eating.

A participant in the program herself, Camfield said she learned a lot of new things.

“I always thought that I was a healthy eater … not so much,” she said. “It is the old adage that knowledge is power. With the Internet there is so much information.”

Participants talk about their health challenges, she said. Camfield’s challenge to overcome was ice cream. Success did not mean giving up ice cream, but learning what else could satisfy her cravings.

Her husband overcame cheese. He discovered all kinds of lower-fat cheeses.

The class also provides moral support. Participants work together to accomplish their 150 minutes of exercise.

“It is easier to exercise with a buddy,” Camfield said.

Exercise is a key component of the program.

“My numbers didn’t start coming down until I started to exercise,” Camfield said. “You have to figure out what works for you.”

The YMCA offers 20 diabetes prevention classes at various central Ohio branches, including the Hilltop YMCA, 2879 Valleyview Drive.

The next diabetes prevention class at the Hilltop branch starts 10 a.m. on March 6. To register, contact Rankin at 224-1137.

The YMCA will host also host a special informational event at 10 a.m. on March 13 at the Grove City branch, 3600 Discovery Drive.

For information, visit www.ymcacolumbus.org/diabetes.

Link to Article


Y’s club gives kids chance to lead

ThisWeek Community News
Monday January 21, 2013 10:17 AM

When Santa Claus visited the Delaware YMCA in December, he had helpers -- and they weren't elves.

A group of Delaware teens pitched in to help run the annual Breakfast with Santa event. They helped to set up, cook breakfast and lead children to visit Santa.

It was one of many community events served by the YMCA's new Teen Leaders Club since it was launched in October. The group helps local teens volunteer, make new friends and build personal skills.

"These guys deserve respect and they need a place to be heard and a place where they can make a difference," said Roger Hanafin, youth, teen and family program director at the Y. "Teen Leaders Club gives them a safe place to experiment with being in charge and trying new things -- plus it's a lot of fun."

The club meets at 6 p.m. every Thursday at the Delaware Community Center YMCA, 1121 S. Houk Road.

It's free to join and open to all youth ages 11-17. Hanafin said most of the current members range from ages 11-14.

In addition to weekly meetings, members engage in community service, such as volunteering at the Y during the monthly Family Night events. They're also organizing the YMCA's Rock Wall Challenge this month, and in February they'll volunteer at Delaware Parks and Recreation's father-daughter dance.

Members also participate in social activities such as an overnight lock-in at the YMCA, during which they swam in the pool, played games and watched movies.

Logan Keeder, 13, said the club is really about learning to take on new responsibilities.

"We do have fun, but usually there is a serious point to what we're doing," Keeder said. "When we're volunteering and seeing how we can make a difference, we get to see that this is what it's really about."

The weekly meetings include games and activities, but members also open up and have serious conversations. Earlier this month, the teens shared their thoughts and experiences related to bullying at school.

Members also build new skills in the club. Recently, they've been working on skills related to finding a job and building a career. They learned how to apply for a job and practiced interview skills.

Feb. 15-17, they'll visit Camp Wilson in Bellefontaine to meet up with 150 other Teen Leaders clubs from YMCAs across the state.

At the camp, they'll play team-building games and participate in activities such as archery and horseback riding.

When they get back, they'll elect two members to serve as the group's first president and vice president.

Zach Miller, 12, said Teen Leaders Club inspired him to get off the couch.

"It's been a great experience," he said. "I think it kind of changed me and gave me something to do instead of just sitting around all the time -- and I met a lot of new people here, too."

Teddy Cochran, 12, said, "I enjoy it a lot. It gets my mind off of school and any other problems."

Youth interested in joining can inquire at the YMCA front desk or attend a weekly meeting.

While the group is free to join, there are fees for certain activities such as the Camp Wilson trip. But Hanafin said the YMCA will work with families individually to ensure their child can afford to participate in all events.

Link to Article


Overflow shelter for homeless opens

By  Rita Price  and  Dean Narciso
Monday January 7, 2013 10:38 PM
A winter shelter for homeless men and women finally opened tonight in its controversial Franklin Township location next to a day-care center.

About 15 women spent the night in the building at 511 Industrial Mile Rd., which used to be a church and before that a fitness club.

Shelter officials say they’ve worked hard to arrange for shuttle services, more-frequent COTA runs, special-duty township police patrols, national-level background checks for clients, and other measures aimed at keeping the neighborhood safe.

“I think the concerns that were brought up by the community have been addressed and will continue to be monitored,” said Franklin Township Trustee Tim Guyton.

The first clients arrived about 7:30 tonight and were checked for weapons with an electronic security wand before being directed to the large room of beds, freshly painted walls, coffee and a flat-screen television. Lights were turned out at 10 p.m.

Guyton said the YMCA of Central Ohio, which operates the shelter through an agreement with the Community Shelter Board, will keep up its public meetings with area residents and business owners to discuss any problems.

“If issues should arise, that’s where they can be brought up and, hopefully, where they can be addressed,” Guyton said.

The opening of the 190-bed winter overflow shelter had been delayed for nearly two months amid legal, zoning, building- and fire-code battles.

Creative Child Care Inc. lost its requests last month for a restraining order and injunction to halt the opening, but it still has a lawsuit pending. A tall chain-link fence has been installed between the properties.

Michelle Heritage, the executive director of the Community Shelter Board, said the community negotiations haven’t made everyone happy. But the winter weather and crowded conditions at existing shelters were creating a critical situation.

New brass sprinkler heads shone from the ceiling’s plumbing tonight, in compliance with fire-code demands. And those needing extra bedding were furnished with new fleece blankets.

“It’s great. I’d give it a 10,” said Stacey Brown, 38, who arrived alone in Columbus on Dec. 21 after being unable to find work in Jacksonville, Fla. She’s been seeking warehouse work since.

Another woman staying at the shelter tonight was Anita Taylor, of Lubbock, Texas, who has been in Columbus for two months to visit her ill father at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

“It’s just a warm, clean place,” she said of the shelter. “It’s just a blessing. But there’s a lot of people still out there on the street.”

Heritage said occupancy, which tops out at 130 beds for men and 60 for women, probably will ramp up in the coming days.

Shelter residents are to arrive between 7 and 8 p.m., after the day care’s 6 p.m. closing. They will begin leaving around 5 a.m. and should be out by 6 a.m., when the day care opens. The shelter is not open during the day.

Homeless adults are supposed to call a central access number to request a shelter bed. They are given day passes for the Central Ohio Transit Authority and can use nearby bus stops to meet the shelter shuttle.

Heritage said the evening shuttle pickup site is the COTA stop at W. Broad Street and Wilson Road. In the mornings, when shelter residents leave, the shuttle is available to take the men and women to any of three COTA stops: at Industrial Mile and Georgesville Road.; at W. Broad Street and Viotis Drive; or at W. Broad and Wilson.

“We worked with COTA to say, ‘What are reasonable stops that buses could run often?’ " Heritage said.

She said six churches throughout the city have agreed to serve as “warming stations” for the homeless during the day, sometimes serving meals. Heritage said that shelter residents aren’t expected to remain in the area during the day.

“Our experience in the past has been that people do not stay and hang around the overflow shelter,” Heritage said. “They go lots of different places. They go to work, to friends’ houses. They are citizens.”

Taylor, who has construction experience in Texas, said she will remain in town “if I can find work.”

And as for those who object to the shelter’s location, she said: “They don’t know what they’r e talking about until they’ve walked in my shoes. It may be their turn tomorrow.”



Link to Article


Hilltop YMCA raises nearly $50K for rennovations

(by Sean Lehosit, Westside Editor - December 14, 2012)

The Hilltop YMCA has raised nearly $50,000 to remodel its facility. Construction is slated to be complete by May.
In June, the Hilltop YMCA began campaigning to raise $50,000 to remodel its facility.

The branch has reached 98 percent of its goal, according to Niel Jurist, public relations specialist for the YMCA of Central Ohio.

The total cost of project is $1.5 million. This includes the expansion of its fitness center and child watch rooms, as well as the addition of new locker rooms, a multi-use room and learning lab.

“All of the improvements are the result of input from our members and volunteers, along with the need for our YMCA to continue to provide quality fitness services and programs,” Jurist said.

Paul Westenheffer, executive director of the Hilltop YMCA, stated in June the facility is running out of space for programs. Areas like locker rooms were not accessible to the handicap or elderly. The branch’s member base is also outgrowing the 52-year-old building.

“The reasons for expansion include space constraints within our facility and the need to address accessibility issues with our floor plans,” Jurist said. “Once construction is complete, all facets of our YMCA will be located on one floor.”

Jurist said the Hilltop branch has around 4,500 members. They have experienced steady growth over the past three years, with a particular increase in senior membership.

“After construction is complete, our YMCA will be fully accessible for all and will have the space necessary to support programs such as diabetes prevention and diabetes management,” Jurist said.

Renovation work on the indoor pool is mostly complete, Jurist said. Footers have been poured and site work is complete on new construction, with brick work starting Dec. 24.

The project is slated to finish by May.

To inquire about donating, contact the Hilltop YMCA at 276-8224 or email info@ymcacolumbus.org.

Link to Article


City leaders, residents sing year-old Y’s praises

Delaware's YMCA, opened last November, is third-largest in central Ohio

ThisWeek Community News
Monday December 3, 2012 10:19 AM


Julie Weller and her family are familiar faces at the Delaware Community Center YMCA.

Weller and her husband stop in frequently to use the treadmills and weights, and their three children -- all members of the YMCA swim team -- usually can be found in the pool.

"We love it," Weller said. "It's not only a place to go in and work out and get healthy, but it's becoming a meeting place for the city.

"When you go in, you don't see just one person you know -- you see whole families."

It's been just over one year since the Delaware YMCA first opened its doors in November 2011, and local officials say it has already changed the face of the community.

"It probably would not be a stretch to say we are a healthier city today than we were a year ago because of the programming the Y has been able to bring to our citizens, and the opportunities that are now offered at the facility," said Delaware city spokesman Lee Yoakum.

The facility at 1121 S. Houk Road includes a gym with weights and cardiovascular machines, two indoor pools, basketball courts, an elevated running track, a climbing wall, aerobic classrooms, a hot tub and sauna, a child watch area and more.

It offers a wide range of programming, including fitness classes, sports leagues for children and adults, and even a Leaders Club for teens that promotes community involvement through volunteering.

In its first year, the facility exceeded expectations, drawing about 8,000 members and thousands of participants for its sports leagues. It's now the third-largest YMCA branch in the Central Ohio district.

Its popularity may not be a surprise to everyone. Residents have been clamoring for a recreation center in Delaware for nearly 14 years.

In 1998, Weller led a volunteer group called Citizens for Indoor Recreation, which banded together to promote the cause.

"There was a huge need for indoor recreation space," she said.

"The city was growing and it was becoming more apparent all the time, especially since we're in a climate where it gets very cold in the winter. There was nowhere to exercise."

But it wasn't until Delaware voters approved a 0.15 percent income tax increase in 2008 that the project finally got the green light.

Paul Weber, director of city recreation services, said the facility is a hit because it meets the needs of every member of the family.

"Adults can come in and take on their wellness challenges, and the kids can come in and they have a place to play and be kids," he said.

For city officials, the YMCA has become a close partner. In 2011, the organization took control of the city's internal parks and recreation department, a move many hoped would save money and expand programming.

The experiment has been a success. Yoakum said the partnership will save the city $150,000 to $200,000 per year.

"We're able to save quite a lot, and clearly the amount of programming is greater than it was before," he said. "The advantages really can't be overstated."

Weber said the facility is gearing up to offer more targeted programs in 2013, including programs that make it more convenient for working residents to exercise before and after work, plus a new program to get residents who may have gotten off track with their fitness regime back in the swing of things with guided sports and exercise classes.

"We want to focus on people that have health and fitness goals and help them achieve those goals," he said. "We think that's how we can be a real asset to the community."

Link to Article


Giant Eagle Teaming Up With YMCA For Thanksgiving Feast

COLUMBUS -- Giant Eagle is teaming up with the Downtown YMCA to make sure the organization's residents will have a proper Thanksgiving meal this year.

The YMCA has been preparing a holiday meal for its residents for a decade, but a lack of supplies jeopardized a portion of this year's feast, which is expected to feed 600 people.

ABC 6/FOX 28 learned of the organization's plight through social media, then reached out to Giant Eagle to seek a solution.

Officials from the grocery store chain quickly agreed to help out, helping to provide 67 desserts and hundreds of soft drinks needed to complete the meal.

Tim Wheat is one of the YMCA's residents that will enjoy the upcoming holiday feast. He told ABC 6/FOX 28 that Giant Eagle's generosity will not go unnoticed -- or unappreciated.

"It is very welcome. I was homeless i went without before i came here," Wheat said. "It is a smile to have meals here on Thanksgiving."

Link to Article


We’re excited for our new software!

We appreciate your patience while we upgrade our software this month to better serve YOU!

A few features we are excited about:

  • The HUB, a revolutionary portal designed with you in mind!
  • Smile! We’ll be taking new pictures of our members.
  • Easier, faster online & in-person registration & transactions.
  • Give the gift of Y membership & programs with our new gift cards.
  • We’re going green! No more paper!
  • Store & scan your membership card from your smart phone.

The Community Health Funders’ Collaborative Announces 2012 Healthy Community Award Winners

Contact: Lisa S. Courtice 614/251-4000 x 143, lcourtice@columbusfoundation.org

Awards recognize local organizations that create healthy living environments through access to physical activity and healthy foods

Columbus, OH (October  11, 2012)—The Community Health Funders’ Collaborative today recognized Catholic Social Services, Children’s Hunger Alliance, and the YMCA of Central Ohio, as winners of the 2012 Healthy Community Awards. The recipients were announced at the Healthy Community Forum held in Davis Hall at The Columbus Foundation. The awardees each received a $20,000 grant from the Collaborative for their efforts to improve the health and wellness of central Ohioans.

2012 Award Winners

• Catholic Social Services was recognized for its strategic and longstanding efforts to help meet the needs of central Ohio residents, particularly the growing Hispanic community, through its Our Lady of Guadalupe Center. Through its emergency food assistance; health screenings; information on nutrition, housing, legal aid and finances; and guidance in acquiring basic needs, Catholic Social Services and the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center are leaders in community health improvement efforts.

• Children’s Hunger Alliance was recognized for its work to inspire central Ohio residents to eat healthier and to become more physically active as part its mission to break the cycle of childhood hunger. Through its youth meal programs, nutrition education and physical activity programs, and its partnerships with schools and community-based agencies, Children’s Hunger Alliance is a leader in community health improvement efforts.

• YMCA of Central Ohio was selected as a result of the organization’s success in helping central Ohio residents become more physically active and eat healthier. Through its many sports and recreation programs, afterschool programs, family health and wellness programs, and adult health management and wellness programs, the YMCA of Central Ohio is a leader in community health improvement efforts.

The 2012 Healthy Community Forum keynote speaker was Allison F. Bauer, program director at The Boston Foundation. Ms. Bauer joined the Boston Foundation in January 2007 and leads the foundation’s health strategy, focused on encouraging healthy behaviors and increasing access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity.

The Community Health Funders’ Collaborative is a philanthropic partnership created to sustain and improve the health and quality of life in central Ohio through focused initiatives and leveraged funding. The collaborative is composed of private, community and corporate funders, including the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations, The Columbus Foundation, United Way of Central Ohio, and Columbus Medical Association Foundation.


Link to Article


Franklin County Commissioners to Participate in National Childhood Health Initiative…

For Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Contact: Scott Varner, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-6638 or 614/554-9089
or Hanna Greer, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-5848
or Niel M. Jurist, YMCA of Central Ohio, 614/224.1137 ext. 128

Franklin County Commissioners to Participate in National Childhood Health Initiative… and Showcase Easy-to-Make, Healthy-to-Eat Afterschool Snacks 

With inactivity and obesity continuing to put Central Ohio children at higher risks for chronic health and physical problems, Franklin County Commissioners will announce on Tuesday the County’s participation in a major national childhood health initiative - starting with tips for parents on easy-to-make, healthy-toeat afterschool snacks. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled. Nationally, nearly one in every three children or teenagers is overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40 percent of young people are considered overweight.

On Tuesday, Franklin County will launch a series of efforts aimed at empowering kids and their families to discover the fun in healthy eating and exercise. With help from a local nutrition expert and a class of preschool students, Franklin County Commissioner President Paula Brooks and YMCA of Central Ohio President Andrew Roberts will demonstrate how to fix afterschool snacks that are easy for parents to make and healthy for young children to eat.

WHAT  Launch of New Franklin County Childhood Health Initiative

WHO  Franklin County Commissioner President Paula Brooks 
          YMCA of Central Ohio President Andrew Roberts

WHERE  Hilltop YMCA   2879 Valleyview Drive, Columbus 43204

WHEN  Tuesday, September 4, 2012 -  2:00pm

GREAT VISUALS  Commissioner Brooks and YMCA staff will prepare snacks for preschool class


For more information on the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, log on to: franklincountyohio.gov/commissioners

OFFICE UPRISING ‘Standing’ desks, mobility efforts energize employees during workday

Susan Miller, as she might be found most afternoons, was on her feet. The human-resources executive — who since January has relied on a “standing” desk, with adjustable risers that lift a phone and computer screen to eye level — gushed about a dramatic shift in her mood and productivity.

“Instead of having that 2 or 3 o’clock slump, I feel energetic,” said Miller, 43, of the Arena District marketing company Resource, which offers the desk to any employee.

“It’s hard to explain until you experience it. And instead of pinging someone with an email, it’s just as easy to take the 10 steps over and have a conversation.”

A culture of movement during the often-sedentary 9-to-5 grind has become a goal for workplaces seeking to combat   habitual sitting patterns, which foster malaise, inactivity and a plethora of health-related dangers — including elevated risks of heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Could that ho-hum office job really be a hazard?

“We’ve been focusing on smoking, alcohol, exercise, stress, sleep, nutrition,” said Anup Kanodia, a family-medicine physician and researcher at the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University.

“I think a new and very important risk factor is the amount of time you sit.”

A wave of recent research underscores that sentiment — with results you might not want to read while sitting down.

A 14-year study by the American Cancer Society found in 2010 that men who sat for six or more hours a day of leisure time were 20 percent more likely to die than men who sat for three hours a day. The comparable rate for women: 40 percent. 

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who controlled subjects’ diets and forbade traditional exercise found that participants who didn’t gain pounds (even as food portions grew) were those who unconsciously moved more — by walking around the office, by taking the stairs, by keeping busy at home with chores or yardwork.

Based on a combined analysis of five existing studies, a July report by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., determined that active, nonsmoking people who sit for more than three hours a day decrease their life expectancy by two years.

“Even if you go to the gym for   an hour, what about the other 23 hours of the day?” said Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk, a Pennington epidemiologist and researcher.

“People who sit less have a lower risk.”

Last month, Kanodia said, the Wexner Medical Center launched a “mobile campaign,” including standing and walking staff meetings, and a few standing desks.

In March, as part of a six-month pilot study, the New Albany offices of health-care giant Aetna were outfitted with two treadmill workstations — each $4,000 unit equipped with a phone and computer.

Based on feedback and results (a collective 172,000 calories were burned by 20 enthusiastic participants), the machines will stay and be open to any of the building’s 900-plus staff members.

A weekly treadmill routine of three 60-minute working sessions helped Sherri Morris drop two pant sizes.

“When I saw that I was losing the weight, it just motivated me   more,” said the 39-year-old, an Aetna customer-service representative who spoke while pacing at a moderate speed. “ You feel better.”

Elsewhere, corporate fitness initiatives — from screenings and health fairs to discounted gym memberships — are on the rise. Five years of annual surveys issued by the Society for Human Resource Management, based in Virginia, show a slow but continual climb.

Wellness Works, a workplace-health partnership with the YMCA of Central Ohio, has grown yearly since its 2007 inception. Among its offerings are diet counseling and classes such as lunch-hour and after-work boot camps, yoga and Zumba conducted on-site at participating central Ohio offices. 

“We have to collectively be proactive,” said Christopher Haverlock, corporate-wellness director for the YMCA.

Such investments, according to a 2010 Harvard University study, can boost profits: Company medical costs drop $3.27 in relation to every dollar spent on workplace disease-prevention and health programs.

That’s to say nothing of productivity: A study of NASA employees found that those who exercised worked at full throttle until day’s end, while others lagged during the final two hours.

Even small efforts seemingly make a big difference. 

Kanodia recommends two to five minutes of movement every half-hour — with the added suggestion of taking phone calls while standing. To stand, he said, burns 50 percent more calories than sitting.

Ensuing muscle contractions help the body pump glucose from the bloodstream as well as convert low-density lipoprotein (“bad cholesterol”) into high-density lipoprotein (“good cholesterol”) — a process that drops as much as 95 percent during long sits.

Which explains why employees at the Grange Insurance offices in the Brewery District can use the office’s 24/7 fitness center at any time during the day and after hours. A rotating schedule also features classes ranging from cardio kickboxing to meditation. 

With midday movement, “You get that break,” said Rea Jean Hix, work-life services coordinator for Grange — who noted that staff members use the honor system to balance work and workout time.

“You get that exercise, you’re refreshed, and you can continue on with your day."

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Anything but square: Dancers hope club grows

ThisWeek Community News
Friday August 10, 2012 5:00 PM

The Little Brown Jug Square Dancers are celebrating their 25th year of do-si-dos and promenades.

Last year, the group celebrated its 25th anniversary by dancing on a horse-drawn wagon, which has been a tradition. This year, they skipped the wagon and danced in Delaware's Fourth of July parade.

Nancy Swanberg, president of the club, said this year the club will merge with the Delaware Community Center YMCA in order to provide more square-dancing lessons for the public.

In order to promote the new partnership, the dancers entertained onlookers in front of Barley Hopsters during the Aug. 3 Fourth Friday event in downtown Delaware. They also passed out cards good for two free square-dancing lessons at the YMCA.

The YMCA, 1121 S. Houk Road, will offer 10-week sessions for beginners and intermediate dancers.

The 24-member club also is seeking membership, especially younger folks, Swanberg said. The club has male and female members, ranging in age from 13 to late 80s.

"We are one of 12 dance groups in central Ohio and will be having a statewide convention in Columbus in 2013," Swanberg said.

She said many couples have joined the club, but singles are welcome as well.

"My husband passed away in 2007 and that's when I learned how to dance the male part," she said. "There are plenty of single ladies in my group and I am able to dance with them."

Swanberg said anyone who knows how to walk and wants to learn how to square dance can come to the meetings, even if they don't know their "right foot from their left foot."

She said she has traveled all over the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, in the name of square dancing. She said it's a great way to meet people, because every state has square-dancing clubs.

"Once you start dancing, you go wild and you're hooked on it," she said. "If you are on vacation and go dancing, you make instant friends. It's a nice social activity."

Square dancing is a social activity that involves a lot of laughing, cheering and "yellow rocks" -- square-dancer jargon for hugs, she said. Square dancing also can be a good cardio workout, Swanberg said.

"My doctor told me that whatever I am doing, keep it up," she said. "He said that it's the healthiest thing for me to do and I have never stopped and I have never regretted it."

But is square dancing fun?

"I've been doing this for over 30 years," she said. "I obviously think it's fun."

For more information about the club or the classes offered, visit the website cocdc.org or call Swanberg at 740-417-4258.

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Concert Review | Musicians Against Childhood Cancer: Musicianship stellar at bluegrass review

By  Curtis Schieber
For The Columbus Dispatch Friday July 20, 2012 
It seemed the weather was waiting to see what goods the Musicians Against Childhood Cancer Bluegrass Classic could deliver yesterday in the Hoover Y-Park. Clearing slightly by mid-afternoon, the clouds held their moisture at least through the next-to-last act, when this paper’s deadline called.

The weather’s patience was well-earned, as just after dark the Grascals delivered a crack set crowned by a brilliant impromptu jam session that featured the evening’s closer, IIIrd Tyme Out, and Marty Raybon, who played earlier.

Raybon led the bonus round, impersonating Ralph Stanley and prodding Grascals front man Terry Eldredge to follow along as former boss Larry Cordle. Dead-on impersonations aside, it led to spry covers of platinum bluegrass songs such as Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Side Of The Mountain and a couple of Stanley tunes.

The jam session featured stellar musicianship and a couple of vocals from Raybon that topped his entire earlier set.

On their own, the Grascals raised the bar the minute they began. The group hit the ground running with the Elvis Presley vehicle Mystery Train, which laid inspired instrumental runs into a deeply swinging beat.

The band hardly hesitated between songs, checking the title track from its new Life Finds A Way and the vintage You Can Mark It Down. While the latter featured Eldredge’s fine but unusual and high-pitched Bob Dylan-like voice, many others starred co-leader Jamie Johnson.

Spotlights on banjoist Kristin Scott Benson, mandolinist Danny Roberts and fiddler Jeremy Smith reinforced the individual and collective awards the ensemble has won. Terry Smith proved his worth with his slap bass on Hard Times.

Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers played before the Grascals, contrasting that band’s youthful respect for tradition with the tradition itself. The group performed in coordinated stage outfits and played a few songs it has for decades. Sparks, a terrifically inventive guitarist, has released 50 albums and soon celebrates 50 years in the business.

Raybon appeared with his band Full Circle as the sun tucked behind the gigantic maples that make the Y-Park an idyllic setting for this music. Rough and ready, his ensemble celebrated the future not only with its program but by backing 11-year-old Jae Lee Roberts, daughter of the Grascals mandolin man, for an impressive country ballad.

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County YMCA gymnastics team enjoys successful season

Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 7:30 pm

The Pickaway County Family YMCA Gymnastics Team just finished a great season.  During the regular season, October through March, the team from Pickaway competed against five area YMCA’s, giving the gymnasts an opportunity to show off their skills and receive feedback from the judges. In early March, the Level 3 and 4 gymnasts attended the South East Ohio District Meet, held at the Ross County YMCA in Chillicothe. Many of the gymnasts finished in the top 3, receiving individual honors. In the team event, the Level 3 gymnasts finished 2nd and the Level 4 gymnasts finished 4th.  Later that month, the Level 5, 6, and Optional gymnasts attended the South East Ohio District Meet held at the Cambridge Family YMCA. All of the gymnasts performed well, resulting in many individual and all around winners.  Five out of the seven, Level 5 and up gymnasts attended the Great Lakes Zone Regional Championships held at the Tiffin YMCA in April. Representing Pickaway were: Level 5- Lainey Bulmer and Erica Dale, Level 6- Taylor Bonn and Lynne Dale and Prep Op Silver- Kaitlin Bartholomew.  For the first time ever, all of the girls placed in at least one individual event, and four of them placed in the all-around event as well.                  

The finale of the season was the YMCA National Gymnastics Championships held June 29 – July 2, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. More than 1,700 gymnasts, Levels 2 -10, from 106 YMCA’s in 21 states and 300 coaches around the country, came to compete for top honors on bars, beam, floor, vault and all-around.  Fourteen of our own Pickaway County Family YMCA gymnasts and their families made the trip. The girls competing for Pickaway County were:  Level 3 - Savannah Buskirk, Izabella Carroll, Bailey Riffle, Iva O’dell, Chloe Kidd, Ellie Kidd and Kylie Wohnhas. Level 4 - Heather Diffenderfer, Madilyn Nallie, Sarah Smith and Shelby Ward. Level 5 - Erica Dale. Level 6 - Lynne Dale and Taylor Bonn.

All of the girls representing the team performed extremely well under the competitive pressure, with many girls receiving their highest scores of the season. Several of the girls won top honors: Level 3- Savannah Buskirk - 1st place Floor and 6th place All-Around.  Level 3- Iva O’Dell – 6th place Vault.  Level 4- Heather Diffenderfer - 1st place Beam and 3rd All-Around.  Level 5- Erica Dale - 7th place Bars.  Even though they did not come home with a medal, all of the girls are winners, just by qualifying and participating in such a prestigious event. 

The gymnasts would like to thank coaches Beth Harlan, Kelly O’Dell, and Makalay Six for all of their time and support. For information on YMCA gymnastics call the Pickaway County Family YMCA at 740-477-1661.

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Philanthropy Friday: YMCA Performing Arts Summer Camp

by Walker

Kabuki theatre, blues music, and African dance are all coming together to form an exciting experience at the Lincoln Theatre this summer. The YMCA of Central Ohio, Lincoln Theatre, and CAPA are running their third year of the collaborative YMCA Performing Arts Summer Camp at the historic theatre. This summer, over 500 central Ohio children, ages 8-17, are learning the history, techniques, and basics of music, theatre, and dance.

“It’s an incredible experience to have all these art forms in one place. It’s a melting pot,” said Greg Page, YMCA program director.

Throughout the summer, groups of YMCA campers come to the Lincoln Theatre for the one-week learning experience. The campers have a chance to sample music, dance, and theater before choosing one of the disciplines to focus on. The talented counselors from CATCO Phoenix, Columbus Jazz Arts Group, and the YMCA waste no time in preparing the kids for the weekly grand finale performance on the Lincoln Theatre stage.

“Kids that don’t think they can perform end up doing very well and building great confidence. It’s an experience they never forget,” Page said.

Before reaching the big Friday performance, campers work very hard to be prepared. On a recent morning, the music group was busy working on turning a Langston Hughes poem into a blues number. The campers were busy figuring out their parts while snapping and shaking their way through the blues. “Going down the road, help me carry the load,” the campers crooned.

Down one flight of stairs, dancing campers had taken over the ballroom as they polished their performance of West African dances for the big day.

Kids succeed here because of the great leaders who share and expect honesty, respect, and caring,” Page said.

On the Lincoln main stage, campers in the drama tract rehearsed their Kabuki styled version on Cinderella.

This camp opens up their creative minds, they learn to speak publicly and they learn about other cultures. They learn some Japanese, improv techniques, theatre terms, and how to project their voice. Everyone gets a speaking part or a chance to be a lead. They get loose and free on stage. They can find themselves without worrying,” said theater instructor Alayna Barnes.

Every week the campers do an amazing job on the grand finale performance and walk away from the experience with new friends, skills, and confidence. Proud smiles can always be seen as parents snap pictures from the audience.

The Y is giving the kids something to do while broadening their horizons. Philanthropy is very important to keep this going,” Barnes said.

Learn more and donate to the YMCA of Central Ohio via their PowerPhilanthropy portrait.

Information about local nonprofits is available 24/7 through the Foundation’s online resource, PowerPhilanthropy, which is available to everyone who wants to be more informed about the nonprofits they care about. PowerPhilanthropy makes it easy to donate to the causes you care about at columbusfoundation.org/p2/.


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