October 01, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs a cause-driven organization focused on Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility, an important part of the Y’s mission is to serve those who need us the most.

 

That’s why 11 of our 20 YMCA family centers are Outreach Ys ─ centers of pride, purpose and social connection in  communities like Pine Hills, Tangelo Park, Kissimmee, South Orlando and Titusville.

 

As with every other Y, these are true centers of Healthy Living where people of all ages and backgrounds can reduce stress, strengthen family bonds and improve their health and wellness.

 

In all, we provide more than $12.5 million per year in financial assistance and program support for our Outreach centers, all of which feature modern, state-of-the-art wellness floors, swimming pools, gymnasiums, playing fields and more. Much of this assistance is raised through our annual scholarship campaign, which helps more than 30,000 neighbors in need each year.

 

BANISHING FOOD DESERTS 

Soul food plate hi res file cmykBecause rates of diabetes and chronic disease are often higher in our Outreach communities, the Y is working to bring healthier choices for diet and nutrition to the neighborhoods we serve.

 

Healthy cafes and teaching kitchens are planned for the Wayne Densch, South Orlando and possibly the Osceola Ys. All are located in “food deserts” ─ places where a lack of fresh, healthy, affordable food contributes to higher rates of obesity and diabetes. To change this, we will be offering onsite farmers markets, cooking classes and nutrition workshops.

 

We’re also looking to partner with Roniece Weaver, a registered dietician and executive director of Hebni Nutrition Consultants. Hebni, which has been doing great work to prevent diet-related diseases primarily among local minority residents, shares our belief that good health begins with good nutrition.