West Cook YMCA

March 2016 CEO Message

Published 03.01.16


March 2016 is filled with some pretty important dates. 

Pundits and commentators will suggest that it’s the first day of March – Super Tuesday. Others cite March 15 when scores of states will hold primary elections.

Irish people will assert that March 17 is the only day that really matters in March while those of Polish descent will advocate that it’s two days later – March 19 – the Feast of St. Joseph.

Here at the West Cook YMCA we’re focused on Tuesday, March 22 – National Alert Day for Diabetes.

That’s our own “Super Tuesday,” when Y’s will join with the American Diabetes Association in calling attention to the need for people of all ages to know and understand key facts about prediabetes and Type-2 diabetes.

Through public service announcements, advertising in local and national media as well as scores of special events, the alert about diabetes will be sounded loud and clear on Tuesday, March 22 and all during the balance of March and well into April.


Because as part of its commitment to improve the health and well being not only of our members but the communities we serve, the YMCA wants everyone to be aware that prediabetes is a precursor to Type-2 diabetes, a disease that left untreated can lead to serious illness, including cardiovascular disease.

In the United States alone, 26 million people suffer from diabetes and 79 million people have prediabetes. These statistics are alarming. The impact on the cost of health care and the overall well-being of our communities makes preventing the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes even more important.

The nation’s struggle with obesity and type 2 diabetes is no surprise but the number of people with prediabetes is a growing issue, especially when only 11 percent of the U.S. population realizes they have the condition.

Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. People with prediabetes are at risk for not only developing type-2 diabetes, but also cardiovascular disease, stroke and other conditions. 

Here at the West Cook YMCA, we’re calling on our partners who serve with us on the Community Advisory Board of our Diabetes Prevention Program to carry the message to their own constituents, friends and followers through social media platforms, screenings and educational sessions, advertising and news and feature stories in their own publications, online and in local media.

The Diabetes Prevention Program’s Community Advisory Board includes members from: AgeOptions, Center for Gerontology at Concordia College, Jewel-Osco, Presence Health Partners, Rush Oak Park Hospital, University of Illinois at Chicago, Westlake Hospital, Chicago Health Medical Group and West Suburban Medical Center.

Hospitals are planning screening events, Jewel Osco registered dietitians will conduct free “shopping tours” of local Jewel food stores to point out healthy food options and many partners will hold information sessions on various aspects of health and wellness all designed to prevent the onset of prediabetes or Type-2 diabetes.

The West Cook YMCA wants residents of the 10 west suburban Chicago communities that it serves to know their risk for prediabetes and type-2 diabetes, as well as preventative steps they can take today to reduce the chances of developing the disease.

As a voice on improving the nation’s health and well-being, the West Cook YMCA encourages all adults to learn their vulnerability for type-2 diabetes by taking a risk assessment here on our Diabetes Prevention Program website.

Several factors that could put a person at risk for type-2 diabetes include family history, age, and weight and activity level, among others.

For more information on the Diabetes Prevention Program at the West Cook YMCA, please contact Laura Olszewski, Healthy Living Director (708) 434-0208 lolszewski@westcookymca.org.

Our Diabetes Prevention Program is now in its second cohort of participants who have begun a 12-month journey to reduce their risk of prediabetes.

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 focused on improving lifestyle habits and behavioral choices in an attempt to prevent or delay the onset of type-2 diabetes. Sessions take place in a small group setting, facilitated by certified Lifestyle Coaches.

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.

We also continue to collaborate with the Oak Park unit of AgeOptions, a not-for-profit organization that assists older adults with resources and service options so they can live life to the fullest. It works to call attention to the need to help adults of all ages control prediabetes or diabetes.

AgeOptions offers workshops of seven or eight weeks plus a three-month program all designed to help older adults take charge of their health.

A big high five to Kyle Patnode, a West Cook YMCA Competitive Swim Team TOPS swimmer for 10 years, former captain of the OPRF swim team and now a junior at the University of Iowa. Kyle made the cut for the 2016 Summer Olympics Time Trials by posting a 54.79 in the 100 meter butterfly event.

Here at the Y, the WCY TOPS team has kicked off the Short Course championship season off very well. TOPS had 75 swimmers competing in both the ISI Regionals & YMCA Districts on February 26th-28th. Over this past weekend at the meet, TOPS had 18 individual medalists, 1 individual event champion, and 1 relay champion at ISI Regionals. At YMCA Districts, we finished with 82 individual medalists, 16 individual event champions, and 2 relay champions.

Do you want your child to experience the personal growth and achievement of being on the West Cook YMCA TOPS Competitive Swim Team? Swim clinics begin April 11 and registration for the summer TOPS Long Course season is set for April 15.

A final note: Early Bird Registration at a 10% discount for Camp Magellan, the summer camp experience extraordinaire will begin March 1 and run through April 30.

This year’s summer camp will be located in a nearby facility with increased space and amenities and is scheduled to run June 13 through August 26.

In addition to traditional Summer Day Camp experiences at the nearby Cook County Forest Preserves and the Fred Hampton Pool in Maywood, new this year will be a series of SUMMER BOOSTS – enrichment programs two-hours in length within the Day Camp day during weeks 2-10 offered for a $15 per week additional fee. The SUMMER BOOSTS offered will be: STEM (Science, Technology, Environment, and Math), Visual Arts, Cooking, Dance and Drama and Strong 4Life, a healthy living focused program conducted by a Personal Trainer.

Think Spring. It’s very near.

Phillip Jiménez
President & CEO

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