Writer / Janet C. Striebel
For 171 years, the YMCA has focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The philanthropic organization doesn’t just bolster bodies; it shapes the future of our community by taking on challenges like the educational achievement gap, adult and childhood obesity and diseases such as the diabetes epidemic.
“Many people don’t realize that the YMCA is a nonprofit organization, and we fundraise,” says Jake Reardon-McSoley, Executive Director at the Fishers YMCA. “I am excited to come to work each day to work towards our mission of awarding over $700,000 in scholarships to 7,200 folks and impacting so many kids and parents each year at Fishers YMCA….One misconception is that Hamilton County is a wealthy place, but actually there are a lot of families living here who face great financial needs.”
Fishers YMCA will host its annual campaign breakfast February 11 from 7:15-8:30 a.m. at 9012 E. 126th St. off Highway 37. Guests will enjoy a delicious breakfast catered by local culinary celebrity Chef Suzanne who appears weekly on WTHR Channel 13 (chefsuzanne.com). Former Indianapolis Colts punter Hunter Smith will be the guest speaker.
Tom Britt, another well-known personality, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies, introducing each uplifting story about how Fishers YMCA has successfully strengthened our community. Britt is a passionate community leader and publisher of the TownePost Network (TownePost.com).
Former Fishers YMCA staff member Mike Connelly, who attended Lawrence North High School and now plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, has been a longtime supporter of the YMCA annual campaign. He will share his story through a video feed. He could be a potential NBA All-Star, but no matter what happens in the NBA, he remains an all-star to the YMCA for his deep-rooted support.
YMCA Mission Sampling
Since 2008, the YMCA has led a program called LIVESTRONG as part of the social responsibility mission. It helps cancer victims build and strengthen muscle mass, increase flexibility and endurance and improve confidence and self-esteem. This 12-week program meets two days a week for 90 minutes and offers a caring staff trained to follow American College Sports Medicine and American Cancer Society exercise guidelines.
“LIVESTRONG focuses on healing and hope and is a very powerful program,” says Reardon-McSoley. “We’re proud to provide this program completely free for cancer survivors. This is important since we know the bankruptcy rate is two and a half times higher for cancer victims than it is for the rest of the community.”
In addition, the YMCA offers a Preschool Program to help offset the achievement gap; it’s available at a discounted rate and follows the USA Creative Curriculum model. This state-of-the-art course plan uses computers and focuses on four types of development: social/emotional, physical, cognitive and language. Of the 131 children involved with this curriculum, one out of four receive a financial scholarship.
Finally, to help address the diabetes epidemic, the YMCA has organized the Diabetes Prevention Program along with the help of the IU School of Health. Though it was first piloted at the Fishers branch, it has grown nationwide due to its success.
The goal of this program is to reduce one’s body weight by seven percent while increasing physical activity by 150 minutes per week. The best part of this process is that participants can work with others in a group setting to help support each other. They can make friends as they lose weight, boost their energy, reduce their risk for diabetes and improve their health.
According to the National Institute of Health, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program not only reduces the number of new cases of Type 2 Diabetes by 58 percent overall but also by 71 percent in people over 60.
The YMCA is fundraising for the sake of the Fishers public’s well-being. After all, a healthy community is a happy one. Reardon-McSoley invites you to come share fellowship at the Fishers YMCA fundraising breakfast.
“We have a lot of powerful missions to carry out. The only way to strengthen our community is by carrying out these missions through the generous support of our donors. We have thousands who are leading a better life because of the time, treasure and talent of our current donors.”
If you are unable to attend the breakfast but would like to donate to the annual campaign, please contact Jenny Lindbloom at 317-558-3203 or register at Eventbrite.com (search ‘Fishers YMCA’).
Visit indymca.org for more information or to sign up for a program.