A Y Without Walls
When the Y was founded over 155 years ago, it’s named related to a group of men who came together to promote a health spirit, mind and body. Over time, physical Ys were built. But our organization is so much more than just bricks and mortar. A Y is really made from the people who get involved to make a difference in themselves and their community.
To further our Y’s mission, our Y often reaches beyond the physical walls to engage with our neighbors. The Y and our programs are out in the community, connecting people wherever they reside.
One such program began in April of 2008. For over 12 weeks, Y staff traveled to Turtle Creek and Turtle Woods, an affordable living community for seniors in Beverly. They connected with residents on their campus in a fitness program that continues today.
The collaboration was inspired by Harborlight Community Partners Executive Director, Andrew DeFranza. He sought to further engage the residents at Turtle Creek and Turtle Woods, two senior communities overseen by his organization, in activities that would help support healthy living in addition to providing solid social interaction. Since transportation to the Y would be a challenge, the Y went to them.
Since it’s founding, this partnership between the Y, Turtle Creek and Turtle Woods, and Harborlight Community Partners, has grown to include a variety of different wellness classes. They even include instruction on safe usage of outdoor fitness equipment that DeFranza purchased to further support and foster an increased quality of life for the residents.
Two years later, the Y sought to implement an osteoporosis prevention program funded by a grant from Beverly Hospital. DeFranza graciously hosted this new initiative at Turtle Creek and Turtle Woods, furthering the scope of the two organization’s missions. Last year, the Y completed four full sessions of collaborative class programming for residents of these two communities providing even more people with healthy programs, right in their own backyard.
The impact of this collaboration has been tremendous. Residents have been receptive and appreciative of the programs provided by the Y. As they have become more active and more engaged, they see their quality of life increasing each day.
Greater Beverly YMCA Health and Wellness Director, Andrew Walker, remarks, These residents now have tools in their tool kit that they can utilize to become more active and healthy. They’re also more engaged with one another, and I think they have made more friends, too.
Programs like this one at Turtle Creek and Turtle Woods, exemplify the purpose of the Y from its founding: bringing the community together with a focus on health and well-being. The physical walls of the Y are just the beginning. With dedication and innovation, Y staff are ensuring we meet our mission wherever they have to travel.