West Cook YMCA

March 2015 CEO Message

Published 03.01.15

Greetings all—

“Spring is near.”  Have you ever heard three more hopeful words? 

After struggling through the challenges of this most persistent winter, when spring finally arrives it will be savored with all its promises of hope and new life.

Spring is a wonderful time to check progress on our own New Year’s Resolutions. Unfortunately, research indicates that while most of us have the best of intentions in January be more organized, to get fit, to eat healthy or to reach other worthy goals, for most of us, these goals just don’t happen. 

By early March, our best plans are often abandoned.

In fact, according to one survey, the average fitness resolution lasts for only eight days!

The solution? Set smaller, more reasonable goals over a shorter period of time.

That’s the advice the West Cook YMCA’s Wellness team offers members who take advantage of our Free Fitness Consultations.  Yes, free is the operative word for adult Y members who make an appointment with the Wellness staff.

First, the staff member will assess the member’s wellness status. That’s followed by the development of an individual plan to help achieve realistic goals for fitness and the adoption of healthy living patterns and practices.

Then, the Wellness staff member will be available periodically to consult on progress as members see fit.  

Spring is also the time when YMCAs around the world share in a tangible expression of our commitment to social responsibility through the Annual Campaign.

Letters spelling out details of the Annual Appeal by this not-for-profit organization are now reaching our entire family—the board of directors, staff, members and friends of the Y. We’re inviting all to participate in the Annual Campaign to help fund scholarships to the Y for those who are unable to do so.

This initiative is another example of how a team that knows how to pull together to renew and renovate our 60-year-old building  (as scores of people did during last summer’s Recess) continues to work together toward a common goal that touches the lives of so many needy people.

Last year, the West Cook YMCA’s Annual Campaign resulted in$120,000 that was divided among over 1,000 households in the ten communities we serve. For many recipients, this meant the difference between being able to join a class, learn to swim, focus on wellness goals and more fully enjoy their lives.

This year’s campaign, an outgrowth of the generous team spirit that pervades the West Cook YMCA, is entitled, “Each One Give Some.”

I hope you will find a way to participate in this tax deductible financial campaign to the extent that you’re able, for these scholarships truly do make a difference for so many persons in the communities we serve who wish to join but who are unable because of their personal financial situation.

Spring also marks the beginning of a new season of programming for people of all ages.

The new Spring Program Guide is filled with details of scores of programs—more than 100 sessions each week. 

Camp Magellan, the West Cook YMCA’s summer camp program for youth ages 7 to 17, promises to be offer memorable experiences of a lifetime—friendship, accomplishment and belonging.  The kids’ days will be filled with activities at the Y-- swimming, playing games, sports and other activities—and at a local forest preserve and on field trips.

An important new feature this year is that families will be able to sign up kids for one- week camp at a time between June 8 through August 21, so there’s no need to change vacation plans to accommodate camp schedules.  Registration by April 30 produces a 10 percent savings.

We’re most fortunate to have so many generous people in our community. Scott Yen, M.D. is one of them. Dr. Yen he has graciously agreed to serve as Chairman of the Community Advisory Committee for the West Cook YMCA’s new Diabetes Prevention Program.

Dr. Yen earned a chemistry degree at Princeton University, received a medical degree at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and completed his residency at the University of Chicago Department of Medicine.

Board-certified in Internal Medicine, Dr. Yen is a member of the Chicago Health Medical Group’s practice in River Forest.  He also serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood.

Dr. Yen’s insight and understanding of the critical need to prevent diabetes will be of great value to this new program as we move forward to serve adults in our community whose profile indicates they are at risk for diabetes and who enroll in a 12-month program either here in the Y or at their workplace if their employer has become a member of this Workplace Wellness program.

Currently, we’re engaged in a vigorous outreach effort among area employers to advise them that our Workplace Wellness program for the prevention of diabetes could be established on their worksite.

We are contacting a wide range of employers in the communities we serve—corporations, non-profit organizations, government agencies, schools, churches, colleges and universities—to encourage them to schedule wellness sessions in the workplace. 

So, during these waning days of winter, it’s the season to spring into action on several fronts—to make an appointment for a free Fitness Consultations; to participate in the Annual Appeal Campaign to fund Y scholarships for persons in need; to enroll kids, ages 7 to 17, in the Y’s summer camps; and to ask your employer if the organization will participate in the Diabetes Prevention program by scheduling an on-site Workplace Wellness class.

Phillip Jiménez
President & CEO

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