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MISSION STATEMENT

The Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs, Inc. exists to promote, support, and protect member YMCAs as premier not-for-profit charitable community service organizations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  

OUR PURPOSE

The Alliance of Massachusetts YMCA's, by influencing public policy and connection to evidenced based solutions, supports and advocates on behalf of its member Ys to share their collective impact with one voice to solve critical social issues in the areas of Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility.

WELCOME

The Massachusetts YMCAs serve 1.2 million people across the Commonwealth. With over 410 service locations, there are 370,000 children and teens being served, providing a wide range of activities to nurture their potential and ensure their success. With over 21,000 volunteers with 333,700 hours and over 16,000 employees, the Y is making a difference in all of the communities it serves.

With a focus on Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility, the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs serves all YMCA branches in the state by advocating on their behalf and providing a multitude of programs across the state. The Alliance of MA YMCAs are part of the Pioneering Healthier Communities work, an effort to create a healthier Massachusetts by facilitating conversations, passing policy, and running programs around physical activity and healthy eating. The Alliance of MA YMCAs also works in conjunction with early education and after school care providers to advocate for a reduction in the income-eligible waitlist and an increase in the salary reserve for early education teachers. The Alliance has been working with the local Y’s to have a positive impact on the achievement gap in Massachusetts, in order to ensure that all our children served can read atthe appropriate grade level. Additionally we address youth at risk, childhood obesity, and prevention of child abuse. Together the YMCAs in Massachusetts have created over 1100 policy changes.

Together we believe we can continue to serve our Massachusetts communities in creating a healthy and positive Commonwealth for our future generations.

 

WORDS FROM THE DIRECTOR

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Feb 5, 2018
Posted by: KMRoycroft


Social responsibility, is the ¨socially responsible means that people and organisations must behave ethically and with sensitivity toward social, cultural, economic and environmental issues¨ they YMCA achieves social responsibility, by reaching out and caring for all their members, while also fulfilling their core goal.

The YMCA has discovered innumerable ways to fulfill their duty as a socially responsible non-profit organization; while achieving their goal which  is ¨ to create programs that nurture a healthy spirit, mind and body for all”. They fulfill their goals by forging relationships with each of their members. The way the Y does that is through the program they host which include swimming lessons, after school programs, along with yoga and spin classes.

Yoga classes, cycling classes, and even Zumba classes provide a sense of ¨healthy spirit” for members who belong to the YMCA. Programs such as Yoga classes and cycling class, are used to promote spiritual awakening.  At high end gyms or facilities, these classes could cost 40-45 dollars per class.  But at the YMCA, these programs has been formed and created at no cost at all. Every YMCA member has the opportunity to join and participate as they please. Not only does these program help the Y abide to it's goal, but it allows the YMCA to have a  sense of community, bringing in grandparents, mothers, children and friend together. It allows every age group, especially youth the opportunity to build new friendships.

The Y also accomplishes social responsibility through it's staff. By having programs, such as the child care, or even programs to benefit the less fortunate, the YMCA comes together to provide families with pillars of stability. The Y members doesn't do it just through money, but through love and support from it's staff.

None of this could come into fruition if it wasn't due to its donors. No matter what amount is given to the Y, whether its a dollar or ten, the YMCA uses every cent of that money to better it's program to help the community, or even to give to a member in need; because no matter what, the Y will do everything to help keep a ¨healthy spirit, mind and body for all.¨

Nov 1, 2017
Posted by: KMRoycroft


According to the National Council on Aging, one in four older adults (age 65+) falls each year. Falling is not a typical part of aging and can be prevented through various physical activity programs seen in clinical-community partnerships. The YMCA offers evidence-based fall prevention programs for older adults to aid them in sustaining balance and mobility as they age. Moving for Better Balance utilizes the concepts and principles of the ancient Chinese martial art, Tai Chi, while establishing a baseline towards enhancing overall physical health. Tai Chi is a noncompetitive form of controlled movements aimed to alleviate stress promoting inner peace.

The design of this program seeks to improve an individual’s strength, mobility, flexibility, and balance to enhance function in everyday activities. The Moving for Better Balance program is a free 12-week, instructor-led program for adults 65 years and older who are physically mobile with impaired stability/mobility and adults 45 years and older with a condition impacting their stability/mobility. The program meets twice a week in 60-90 minute sessions and teaches eight principles of Tai Chi modified for fall prevention; each participant is encouraged to conduct 2+ hours of at-home practice each week as well. YMCA membership is not required for older adults to partake in this program and can be found by contacting your local YMCA.

In accordance with falls, there are also health deficits that arise even who have not fallen due to their induced fear of falling. This fear alone can jeopardize an individual’s health as it can hinder them from partaking in social engagements and limit their amount of activity. Without maintain an active lifestyle, the elderly are more at risk to depression, social isolation, and progressive physical decline. By taking the necessary steps toward sustainable mobility and balance, elderly people can not only reduce their risks of falling, but can increase their overall mental health, improve their memory and cognition and increase their self-esteem. Evidence from the CDC shows that those who participated in Tai Chi fall prevention classes, decreased their risk of falling by 55%. These positive health outcomes can lead to reducing, and potentially eliminating, one’s risk of falling.

Moving for Better Balance is a successful tool that addresses the health needs in the older adult population. Not only are balance and mobility vital in this age demographic, but so are the other various benefits that arise from program participation. The elderly are certainly a group that can be forgotten about which is why so many of them can lose a sense of purpose. They lack motivation because they have this perception of being “too old” and fear their environments. By utilizing fall prevention programs, not only are they building physical muscle strength, but they are harnessing cognitive functions as well as forming social relationships. The benefits of fall prevention go beyond mobility and extend across numerous areas to the overall health of the adult population.

Oct 15, 2017
Posted by: KMRoycroft



The Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs recently received a grant through
YUSA from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for Community Integrated
Health. So, what exactly does that mean? What is Community Integrated
Health and what does that have to do with YMCAs?
For well over two centuries in the United States, health care has been
divided into two parts, treatment of disease and prevention of disease.
Treatment of disease has traditionally been managed by health care
providers including physicians and hospitals. Prevention has been in the
hands of public health. And while this work complimented each other, it
rarely connected.
In recent years there has been a growing realization that health is not about
disease but about the whole person. Where a person lives, or works, or eats
has as much (if not more) impact on how healthy a person is as do health
care providers or public health. Health is not the absence of disease but
rather a person’s mental, physical, social and spiritual wellbeing.
Along with this more expansive understanding of health, there is also a
developing awareness that having health resources in a community (health
equality) does not mean that everyone can use these services (health
equity). Health equity, ensuring that everyone has the resources needed to
attain a individual maximum state of health, is the cornerstone of
Community Integrated Health.
This evolving knowledge is taking place in an environment where health care
for Americans is more expensive than ever, more than most other countries
with similar economies, and for this cost we are getting some of the worst
results. The life expectancy of a child born today in the United States is less
than that of a child born in Japan, Israel, Canada, or Spain.
For years there have been many community based organizations seeking to
have a positive impact on the health of their communities, seeking to
address the mental, physical, social, and spiritual components of health,
seeing health equity and a reduction of costs as a means to making health
more accessible and attainable. These organizations have provided many
services from housing to food to physical activity to child care to socialization
to emotional support.
Sound familiar? It should, for at the core of the mission and values of YMCA,
“to put Christian principles into practice through programs that help healthy

spirit, mind and body for all: to demonstrate a sincere concern for others,
for their needs and well-being” are exactly these services. It is what we, as
Ys, having been doing since 1851.
The YMCA is not the only community service organization dedicated to the
health of their communities, but we are the largest, most organized, and
with the strongest infrastructure to be able to have the greatest impact on
the health of all. Community Integrated Health not only aligns with our
mission, it is our mission in practice. It is what Ys have been doing for over
160 years in the United States.
The work of Community Integrated Health is to serve as the connection
between traditional health care (disease treatment and disease prevention)
and equity in access to programs and services that serve the whole person,
body, soul, and spirit.
Specifically, through this grant we are looking for those bright spots where
Ys are working in a clinical to community connection, where there is a
pathway to serving others that is cost effective, sustainable, accessible, and
impactful. To find those places where disease is being treated and
prevented, but as importantly, where people are able to realize their full
potential by being truly healthy.
We are seeking to magnify and replicate the amazing work of Ys in service to
their communities. We look forward to hearing, learning, and sharing what
every Y is doing. Together we make a difference.

Oct 1, 2017
Posted by: KMRoycroft


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness about the disease. According to the National Breast Cancer website one in eight women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime. The treatments that save peoples lives can cause exhaustion and many other health concerns. The PINK program at the YMCA was developed for breast cancer survivors. It was developed by a Harvard doctor, Carolyn M. Kaelin, MD, MPH, who is a breast cancer survivor herself. Master Trainers Josie Gardiner and Joy Prouty also helped develop the program. The program is the only breast cancer recovery program that is approved by the American Council on Exercise.

The goal of the program is to help these survivors, increase strength and restore flexibility while doing daily tasks. The PINK program is offered year round at multiple locations in Massachusetts. The Burbank YMCA, and Parkway Community YMCA in West Roxbury both offer the program. In 2010 Lahey Clinic in Burlington partnered with the YMCA of Greater Boston. They wanted to provide these classes to local breast cancer patients and survivors to be able to give them the most advanced exercise program that is available.

 The PINK Program is a 12-week fitness program that is safe and effective to help these women start feeling better about themselves. There are two classes offered each week.  Women can join these classes if they are currently undergoing treatment or even years after. Each class is designed to deal with different types of breast cancer surgeries and appeal to the many fitness levels survivors may have. There is a lot of support that shows that the right kind of exercise can help lower the odds of developing breast cancer again, boosts energy and strength, makes daily tasks easier, as well as enhances quality of life. Any adult who is 18 years or older who is living with or a survivor of cancer can join. Like all other YMCA programs it is available to these women regardless of their income.

The PINK Program is a great program for people who have or have had breast cancer. It provides a place for people to start exercising again, and make them feel better about themselves. It also is a place where women can connect with people who have suffered from breast cancer themselves. This is a great place to come for support, as that is really needed when going through the struggles these women go through on a day to day basis.

May 15, 2017
Posted by: KMRoycroft


87% of all cancers in the United States are diagnosed in people 50 years of age or older. Living with cancer can be lonely, weakening, and stressful.

Recognizing the needs of adults living with cancer, the LIVESTRONG Foundation partnered with YMCA’s in 2007 to create LIVESTRONG at YMCA’s. LIVESTRONG is an evidence- based program within participating YMCA’s that helps adult cancer survivors reclaim their health and wellbeing following a cancer diagnosis. The program aims to  guide individuals through safe physical activity, help them build supportive relationships, and reduce stress – leading to an improved quality of life.

Preparation for the program spans 6 months, and the YMCA joins a “learning cohort.” In the 6 month duration, YMCA’s focus on enhancing relationships in the oncology community, developing and delivering a physical activity program for cancer survivors, training program leaders, and tailoring the YMCA environment to the needs of program participants.

Once implemented, the program is open to any individual over the age of 18 who is living with or beyond cancer treatment.

Based on data collected between April 2016-June 2016, 211 YMCA’s nationwide offer this program. We have 3,092 certified instructors and have served 40,958 individuals. The program has been proven to help survivors meet or exceed the recommended amount of physical activity,  help survivors SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE their cardiovascular endurance, improve cancer survivors’ overall quality of life and decrease their cancer-related fatigue.

A former participant, Michelle Lavitt shares her experience with LIVESTRONG at the time,

“I am halfway through the program now, and already I feel like a different person. I have the energy to make it through the day without napping. I can make it up a flight of stairs without stopping to rest. I can carry my daughter again… LIVESTRONG at the YMCA has made an incredible difference in my recovery from breast cancer. I can't thank you enough for offering it, and I hope you continue this program so that others can heal.”

In Massachusetts, the LIVESTRONG program is offered at the Athol Area YMCA in Athol, Cape Cod YMCA in West Barnstable, Hockomock YMCA in North Attleboro, Malden YMCA in Malden, Merrimack Valley YMCA in Lawrence, MetroWest YMCA in Framingham, Old Colony YMCA in Brockton, South Shore YMCA in Norwell, Tri-Community YMCA of Southbridge in Southbridge, West Suburban YMCA in Newton, YMCA of Attleboro in Attleboro, YMCA of Central Massachusetts in Worcester, YMCA of Greater Boston in Boston, YMCA of Greater Springfield in Springfield, YMCA of Greater Westfield in Westfield, YMCA of Metro North in Peabody, YMCA of the North Shore in Beverly, and YMCA of the Southcoast in New Bedford

 

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