Thursday 23 May 2019
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YMCA of Greater Erie

From wellness to well-being, more and more employers are transforming the health-care landscape — and reducing health-care costs — by encouraging employees to embark on self-improvement initiatives based on their interests, goals and needs. Here, Gerry Vandemerwe, chief executive officer of the YMCA of Greater Erie, shares the many wellness programs and additional services available through the Y.

The YMCA of Greater Erie has been a leading nonprofit community resource in the areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility for 156 years. What is the Y’s mission and vision?

The Y is deeply rooted in communities throughout Erie County. We work in partnership with like-minded organizations to collectively improve the quality of life of all citizens by aligning our priorities with our community’s vision as identified in Erie Vital Signs, Erie ReFocused and Emerge 2040.

As such, we concentrate our community outreach programs in these core areas: Health, Education, Safe Spaces and Hunger.

Our strength to deliver impactful programs and services come from our dedicated staff, volunteers and donors; a long-standing reputation of reliability and accountability; and fiscal responsibility.

Highlights of our community impact in 2017 include: 39,000 people served; $1,008,193 in services and financial assistance donated to 9,136 children, teens, families and seniors; 812 volunteers invested 16,339 hours equaling $223,000 in estimated work value; 472 youth received free swim lessons keeping them safe in and around water; 2,962 children growing up learning at the Y; 3,041 families strengthened family bonds; 13,747 seniors kept active and connected with others at the Y; 379 teens empowered to reach their full potential; 417,000 healthy meals and snacks served; and, 128 organizations and 692 individuals donated to the Y.

What is the value of a Y membership?
At the Y, you’re not just a member of a facility; you’re part of a cause. With a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, improving health and well-being, and giving back and supporting our neighbors, your membership will bring about meaningful change not just within yourself, but within our community too.

We are open to everyone and embrace diversity, and our programs reflect the unique needs of our community. We are constantly updating our facilities and adding to our program offerings to fit the needs of you and your family and those in the community.

How can the Y assist employers with their wellness initiatives?
Being healthy means more than simply being physically active. It’s about maintaining a balanced spirit, mind and body. That’s why health, well-being and fitness are so much more than just working out. Beyond modern fitness facilities, we provide educational programs to promote healthier decisions, and offer a variety of programs that support physical, intellectual and spiritual strength.

At the Y, a supportive community is a big part of wellness. At every age and at every 2018activity level, you’ll find people just like you looking to live a bit healthier. Members and program participants often cite the supportive atmosphere of other members and staff as some of the key factors in their achievement of greater well-being.

There’s no doubt about it that workplace wellness is worth it. We believe that healthy employees help make a healthy and successful company. Our Corporate Wellness Program is tailored by employers in order to best meet the needs of the employee. Customization includes utilization reporting and reimbursement incentives, guest speakers, participation in corporate health fairs, and corporate sporting leagues are available, as well.

What are some exciting Y events/programs that we should look forward to in 2018?
We want to encourage our members to utilize the Y as often as they can. Sometimes, it’s more convenient for members to utilize a Y in a different location when traveling, near a workplace or in another region.

Now, YMCA of Greater Erie members have the flexibility to use other Y facilities across the U.S. at no extra charge. A member simply presents their Y keytag and enjoys access to any YMCA in the United States as part of nationwide membership.