West Cook YMCA

February 2016 CEO Message

Published 02.01.16

February 2016 | West Cook YMCA CEO Message
Phillip's Message  

Live strong. Certainly we all wish to enjoy good health and attain a high level quality of life.

But for those who are cancer survivors, often these goals can be very challenging to achieve.

That's why I'm so very pleased to announce that the West Cook YMCA will offer a new program, beginning in early March, for adult cancer survivors-LIVE STRONG at the YMCA.

LIVE STRONG at the YMCA, launched in 2007, is a partnership between the LIVE STRONG Foundation and YMCA of the USA, two national not-for-profit organizations. The West Cook YMCA joins more than 400 other sites for the program, which has helped more than 29,000 cancer survivors reclaim their health in a safe and supportive environment.

The West Cook Y's effort will be a small group program for any adult, 18 and over, who has ever been diagnosed with cancer. The group will welcome persons who have been in remission from cancer for months or years as well those who are currently in treatment and who find themselves in transition between completing treatment and shifting to feeling physically and emotionally strong enough to return to their normal lives or what is often termed, a "new normal."

LIVE STRONG at the YMCA is all about health, not disease.

The goals of this research-based program are to improve strength and endurance, increase flexibility and day-to-day activities, reduce therapy side effects, prevent unwanted weight fluctuations and improve self-esteem and energy levels.

This is a FREE 12-week program, which also comes with a one-year complimentary West Cook YMCA Household Membership so participants may bring a family member who can accompany them and participate in a class or in an individual workout in any facility at the Y.

Groups of six to twelve participants will meet in two 75-90 minute classes a week led by two certified LIVE STRONG instructors who will work with the group in a safe and welcoming environment. The focus will be on physical activity and fitness to help participants achieve their goals-whatever they may be.  
Participants must receive written authorization from their health care provider to participate in the LIVE STRONG program.

We've scheduled a focus group around the subject of Exercise and Cancer Survivors on Thursday, February 18th at 6:30 p.m. for anyone interested in the LIVE STRONG program. Please contact Laura Olszewski (708) 434-0208 or lolszewski@westcookymca.org.

Another group focused on healthy living is forming in late February-- our second group of participants in a year-long Diabetes Prevention Program.

The 25-session YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program helps adults, 18 and over, at high risk for or who have been diagnosed with prediabetes, reduce their risk for developing diabetes by taking steps that will improve their overall health and well being. The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program uses a Centers for Disease Control-approved curriculum and is part of the CDC- led National Diabetes Prevention Program.

According to Laura Olszewski, the West Cook Y's Healthy Living Director, members of the first Diabetes Prevention Program class are making progress toward their goals.

All adults who qualify, regardless of their insurance status, are eligible to participate in the Diabetes Prevention Program, and a Y membership is not required.

Research by the National Institutes of Health has shown that programs like the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program can reduce the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent and 71 percent in adults over the age of 60.

For more information or to apply to the program, call 708.383.5200 or send an email to:  preventdiabetes@westcookymca.org.

On February 22, our Winter II session of new Group Exercise, Youth Sports and Aquatics classes begins. Group Personal Training classes are available for youths starting as young as 3 to 8 years, with 6-15 age group classes as well as groups 16 and older, including adult of all ages.

The New Year's Personal Training sale runs until February 29. Group classes or personal training sessions are led by our team of certified personal trainers. They help participants gain strength, confidence and energy while meeting personal fitness goals. Visit this web page to learn details and fees for 6, 12 or 24 sessions at discounted rates.

A reminder: Y members are entitled to two free fitness consultations per year.

Here are snapshots of our Personal Trainers who are all dedicated to their profession and willing to assist members:

Amy Anesi, Fitness Instructor, is certified as a Spin and Group instructor and has been teaching here since 2004.

Alex Bennett, Personal Trainer, a former lifeguard, swim and skating instructor, came to the Y because of its sense of community. She is pursuing certification as an ACSM Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer while preparing to enter and finish her third Ironman Competition next year.

Leticia Diaz, Personal Trainer, is a National Certified Personal Trainer who has a passion for helping people stay healthy and feel stronger. Leticia is a firm believer that fitness has a great impact on a person's outlook in life.

Alyssa Jelinek, Fitness Instructor, launched her fitness career by taking a few classes at the Y and enjoyed the community and positive atmosphere, so much so that five years ago she became a Y instructor. Alyssa continues sharing her interest in healthy living and fitness.

Laura Olszewski, Personal Trainer, Healthy Living Director, who enjoys helping empower people both physically and mentally, has been a Certified Personal Trainer for eight years. She is also certified by ACSM as an Inclusive Trainer, Spinning Instructor and is Y-Balance Certified. She is also a Lifestyle Coach in the YMCA' Diabetes Prevention Program.

Sergio Perez, Personal Trainer, Healthy Living Coordinator, focuses on helping clients address functional strength and conditioning and attain corrective mobility and movement without restriction. Active in the health and fitness profession since 2008, Sergio earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is certified by the World Instructors Training School Personal Training (WITS) in: Personal Training, Functional Movement, Selective Functional Movement Assessment, Y-Balance, Russian Kettlebell, and Battlerope.

Erik Treese, Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor, the WCY's 2015 Employee of the Year, grew up in a YMCA on the south side of Chicago. He believes that fitness and exercise play an important role in creating a safe and healthy world. Erik has been teaching Group Fitness for the past four years and has been a Personal Trainer for three years.

Visit this web site to see full bios on the West Cook Y's Personal Trainers: http://www.westcookymca.org/main/personal-training/

The YMCA's first-ever national multimedia marketing campaign titled, For a better us™, has launched. The new campaign is designed to educate consumers all across the U.S. about the YMCA's work as one of the most effective and enduring charitable organizations in the country. Visit www.ymca.net/forabetterus for an overview of the campaign.

The national advertising campaign kicked off with two very compelling 60-sec. commercials, Places and Idle Hands, which aired during a recent edition of the CBS Network's centerpiece program, "60 Minutes." These were followed the same evening by a 30 sec. spot on the highly rated program,  "Madam Secretary."  

Here are links to these two memorable messages:
Places 60-second version: https://youtu.be/3EsVHtJOCYg
Idle Hands 60-second version: https://youtu.be/pSc-06KaeP4

The following day, New York Times business page heralded the new campaign in a major article, "The Y Embarks on its first National Advertising Campaign." http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/25/business/media/the-y-embarks-on-its-first-national-advertising-campaign.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=1

The story quoted Y-USA President Kevin Washington: "Lots of people know and like the Y.  But they see it as a gym and swim place. We're also a charity, and that is the missing ingredient. We want people to realize that we're deserving of their charitable donations."

In the days and weeks to come, expect to see more in the news about the Y's campaign and its efforts to create a meaningful conversation about the communities it supports, like the West Cook YMCA and the work we do every day. We're proud of our record 2015 annual campaign proceeds of $117,000 that we provided in scholarship assistance to anyone unable to afford a Y membership.  Stay tuned!

Speaking of fund raising, a well deserved high five to the WCY's Competitive Swim Team TOPS for securing over $ 16,000 in its recent "Splash for Cash" event.

In the weeks leading up to the event, some 85 swimmers from 71 TOPS families scoured the community and their network of friends, family, co-workers and neighbors to solicit donations ranging from $5 to $500 for the TOPS team.

In the spirit of the TOPS group, competition prevailed at every stage of the project.  

In the runup to the event, weekly raffles were held with shark-theme prizes awarded to swimmers who raised certain financial levels.

At the "Splash for Cash" event, swimmers filled every lane of the Oak Park River Forest High School's East and West pools and swam as many laps as they could within a specified time.  

At the end of the day, prizes were awarded to individuals and practice squads for the most funds raised and a great victory party followed.

The "Splash for Cash" event raised funds to purchase a new Colorado Timing Console and Daktronics Starting Box used in practices and swim meets.  

And special thanks to Illinois State Representative La Shawn Ford who brought his 9th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Family Health Challenge to the West Cook Y to celebrate the civil rights leader's birthday.

Young people, their parents and guardians, participated in a service project in the spirit of Dr. King by packing lunches for our West Cook YMCA residents. They also enjoyed plenty of games, sports, and were coached in the challenges of "Double Dutch" jump rope by Lynn Allen, Multicultural Center Coordinator at the Julian Middle School in Oak Park, who also addressed the group.

Fitness demos, nutrition consultation, a diabetes prevention workshop and a Q & A Mythbuster session with the Y's personal trainers rounded out the day.  

WGN-TV and CLTV aired reports of the West Cook Y's program on their nightly News roundup stories about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations around Chicago.

A well deserved thanks and appreciation to Jim Marshall, a former board member and longstanding friend of the West Cook YMCA.  A charter member of the West Cook YMCA's Heritage Club, Jim is now relinquishing his role as host of the group's dinners at the Oak Park Country Club for many years.

Heritage Club members have elected to remember the West Cook YMCA through a planned giving instrument such as a bequest, Charitable Remainder Trust, Charitable Lead Trust, life insurance or an outright gift.
According to Jim, "the Heritage Club began in the 1970s when Art Holland, a former WCY CEO, launched the group when he gave me and others an offer we couldn't refuse by saying-- 'give the Y $ 500 and you're in the Heritage Club.'"  

Tradition still holds-admission to the Heritage Club is made immediately with a contribution of $ 500 to the West Cook Y's investment fund.

Finally, a reminder that Early Bird Registration (with a 10 percent discount) will be open March 1 through April 30 for the West Cook YMCA's Camp Magellan, a wonderful summertime day camp experience that will run from June 13 to August 26.

Phillip Jiménez
President & CEO

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