There’s a Y in Community Collaborations
Interview with Charlie Mandile, executive director of HealthFinders Collaborative:
Do you have a Y personal story?
I grew up at a YMCA summer camp. As a child I spent my summers in Northern Minnesota learning skills and life lessons I have carried with me into adulthood. As a counselor, I learned and appreciated the Y’s holistic mission and values of Mind, Body, and Spirit. I not only learned new skills, but developed relationships and connections that will last a lifetime and learned more about myself than in any other time in my life. I can honestly say I would be a much different person if not for the Y.
In what ways does your organization partner with the Northfield Y?
A few years ago, we had a wellness group that met in one of our patient neighborhoods. They met regularly at the mailboxes, starting group exercises and a walking group. Pretty soon they started walking down to the YMCA Wellness Center and with open arms, the Y opened their facility to our program. Now, a few years on, our Pura Vida healthy lifestyles program is thriving, teaching 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.
How does your partnership with the Northfield Y impact the community? Who does it impact most?
HealthFinders has a mission to the most marginalized in our community. We believe in the inherent capacity of individuals and families to care for their own health, building lasting and significant relationships in our patient communities facing epidemic chronic disease. The Y has a neighborhood-based location and expert fitness instructors. Together, we connect unique opportunities for health and wellness with HealthFinders patient communities, bringing health and medical care outside of the clinic and into the neighborhood.
What new opportunities will the new Y community center bring to Northfield?
The new Y community center will provide additional space for people to come together. There are many different communities within Northfield. The Y will hopefully provide a space for people to unite under a common goal of health and wellness.
Why is it important for people in our community to support the Y Capital Campaign?
The Y supports community-based collaborations that engage broad sectors of the community. With a new space, the Y can continue to provide space and expertise to continue partnering with community-based organizations to promote health and wellness for all.