There’s a Y in Community Collaborations
Whether it’s individuals, families, neighborhoods, or the greater community, the Northfield Area YMCA is reaching out to connect.
“Partnerships allow us to make a bigger impact by combining strengths, networks and resources of many local organizations,” said Virginia Kaczmarek, executive director of the Northfield Area Y, who cites that the Northfield Y has partnered in varying degrees with more than 40 organizations since 2006, and it continues to grow.
“The Y has become a key collaborator in town, and the new community center will make those ties even more viable in the future,” said Zach Pruitt, director of the Healthy Community Initiative (HCI).
“The Northfield Y is a valuable resource in helping young people grow and succeed,” said Pruitt. The Northfield Youth Sports Collaborative, a program supported by HCI, strives to ensure that all young people — regardless of their family’s economic status — can take part in local youth sports and recreation opportunities. The Y has helped to bridge that gap. “From the start, the Northfield Y has been committed to making sure that its programs are open and accessible and that young people and families are never turned away because of an inability to pay,” said Pruitt. “The Y community center will provide a place for youth and families to spend time together — to gather, to connect, to build community through positive, enriching opportunities.”
Charlie Mandile, executive director of HealthFinders Collaborative, credits the Y for how well their Pura Vida healthy lifestyles program is thriving. The program teaches exercise, nutrition, stress reduction, and community leadership. “The Y is vital in not only providing a space for our program, but fitness instructors and child watch staff that are essential to our participants,” said Mandile. “The Y has a neighborhood-based location and expert fitness instructors. Together, we connect unique opportunities for health and wellness.”
Good health takes many forms. The Y also connects with our farming community. A hands-on educational program with Seeds Farm allows children and families the opportunity to see how food is grown. “I believe it is important for children to get outdoors, explore the community in which they live, and learn while having fun,” said Becca Carlson, manager of Seeds Farm. “I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the children engage enthusiastically with the natural world around them through this Y partnership,” said Carlson.
“The Y is ‘rich soil’ and I think collaborations like these provide diverse opportunities that will bear much fruit,” said Carlson. “It takes many of us working together to make something of this magnitude work. A community that takes care of its people is a strong community. If people want a healthier community, the Y provides a great opportunity to leverage resources to accomplish that goal.”
A complete list of Y collaborations, to date, can be found here.
– written by Amy Acheson