Local YMCA’s work to create healthier, safer communities highlighted in NY Times health blog

Local YMCA's work to create healthier, safer communities highlighted in NY Times health blog

The local YMCA’s work to build healthier and safer communities in Richmond was highlighted Monday in the New York Times’ personal health blog.

The post centered on the YMCA of the USA’s Healthier Communities Initiatives, which aims to strengthen the healths both within its walls and within the communities they serve. After 11 years, the program serves 247 communities across the nation and accounts for “more than 39,000 changes to support healthy living, benefiting as many as 73 million people,” the blog states.

The work the organization has done in Richmond was called one of the initiative’s success stories.

“Don Lau, executive vice president of the Y.M.C.A. of the East Bay, said that, aided by the local police department, the Y program had made it safer for children to walk to school and play in the city’s parks,” the blog states. “Residents feel more comfortable walking the streets now with new traffic calming measures and improved lighting.”

Lau also touted community partnerships, including the Building Blocks for Kids (BBK) Collaborative at the West County YMCA, an assembling of 26 agencies and community stakeholders united on programs aimed at improving youth outcomes.

“Space for free fitness classes was established at the Center for Health and Healing, formed by a collaboration of local organizations, and the classes were ‘so successful they expanded into the nearby elementary school,’ Lau told the writer. “Two community centers adopted open gym policies; three parks were renovated; and with support from the Richmond Community Foundation, the football and soccer field was redeveloped, providing access to physical activity indoors and out. A strong sense of community is being fostered through health-promoting nature walks, block parties, farmer’s markets and family gatherings.”

To read more about some of the West County YMCA’s programs, visit here.