The New Y: Building More than Muscle

article by Beth Casper | Marketing & Communications Director, Eugene Family YMCA

At any given time, there are dozens of people on the waitlist for the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program, a 12-week series for people undergoing or recovering from cancer treatment. It’s an evidence-based program that improves strength, balance, flexibility and fitness while providing the emotional support necessary to keep people’s spirits high and motivation strong.

“It’s heartbreaking to turn people away every year when I know they would see improvement in their fatigue, range of motion and general fitness,” said Program Coordinator Colleen Hogan. “We simply do not have the space in our current facility to accommodate more classes with more participants.”

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is not the only health initiative that suffers from being a part of an old, outdated facility. The Y’s programs to prevent diabetes, manage arthritis or fibromyalgia, and support individuals with mobility restrictions cannot expand within the existing structure.

“The new Y is the mechanism by which we expand to serve more people and address broader or emerging health-related concerns in the future,” said Chief Development Officer Danielle Uhlhorn.

The new 74,000-square-foot facility not only triples the Health & Wellness Center, but also provides community-gathering spaces for education and programs never offered before, such as nutrition classes for families in the teaching kitchen. The vision includes fitness classes for individuals living with Parkinson’s in the Spin Studio, support for those living with Alzheimer’s in the Community Room and Falls Prevention courses in a fitness studio. The New Y will host caregiver support groups and new parent groups connecting while they walk laps on the indoor track that surrounds the gym.

“In 2022, we’ll launch a Blood Pressure Self Monitoring Program, but only because we can use space outside our facility to meet with participants,” said Health & Wellness Director Kim Miller. “We need larger spaces in an ADA-accessible facility that will not have the barriers of our aged facility. We will be able to welcome anyone with disabilities or mobility challenges into all program areas of our new Y.”

The new Y is designed to create inviting, welcoming rooms for learning, connecting and gathering, and has a flexible design to accommodate future health and emergency related challenges. As the COVID-19 global pandemic taught everyone, the best way to prepare for the unknown is to be able to rely on an array of resources and options.

“For nearly 135 years the Y has been a trusted local resource for addressing the health and educational needs that individuals and families face,” said CEO Brian Steffen. “The Y has served Lane County through generations of evolving needs. The new Y will build upon this enduring legacy in critical ways that strengthen and broaden our communities’ ability to meet the uncertainties of tomorrow with clarity, capacity and courage.”

The new Y will break ground in July 2022. Learn more or donate HERE.

Published On: January 1, 2022
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