Meet Our New Club W & Aquatics Staff!

21 Jul

Natalie AnneNatalie Anne, Yoga Instructor

Class or Classes do you teach?

I teach Gentle Yoga and Back Care Yoga.

Why should people come to your class?

People should come to my class because I offer a style of yoga that is truly effective. I call it vibrant breath yoga, because it is a moving meditation in which the breath inspires the physical practice. Each class is sequenced intelligently and we use PNF, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, to move in and out of poses before we hold them. This maximizes the stretching potential, but in the safest way possible.

Who should come to your class?

Come to my class if you want a gentle physical practice that mobilizes breath awareness to increase strength and flexibility.  The class is designed to leave you feeling relaxed and renewed. It for all ages and skill levels, and is beginner friendly as well.

Certifications/ Trainings/ Passions

I have my Asheville Yoga Center teacher training; Forrest Yoga teacher training; NC Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapist; and I’m currently pursuing a certification in Yoga Therapy with Gary Kraftsow. My passions include biking, soccer, good food, nature walks and live music.

Tell us one thing our members may like to know about you.

I try not to take myself too seriously. As the saying goes, ‘laughter is the best medicine’.


Tiffany CopelandTiffany Copeland, Zumba® Instructor

What class (or classes) do you teach at the YWCA?

Zumba® Fitness

Why should people come to your class?

People should come to my class for a fun, and engaging party-like atmosphere while they workout. The camaraderie is encouraging and keeps you motivated.

Who should come to your class?

Everyone is welcome!


I am a Certified Group Fitness Instructor with a license to teach Zumba®  Fitness. I love people, music and dance. My favorite dance styles are salsa, merengue, soca, reggae, cumbia and hip-hop. I teach a variety of these dance styles in every Zumba®  class with easy to follow movements.

Tell us one thing our members may like to know about you.

I’ve lost over 40 pounds during my weight-loss journey!



Tara EdwardsTara Edwards, Fitness Associate

What brought you to the YWCA?

My passion for working with those who want to implement a healthier lifestyle. I wanted to train at a gym that is filled with positive energy and passionate members. The YWCA is just that! I have only lived in Asheville for a few weeks, but the YWCA already feels like home with its supportive and family-like community.

What suggestions do you have for people just beginning their workouts?

Do not compare yourself with those around you. Instead, focus on bettering yourself day by day. We all have to start somewhere, so never forget to keep pushing yourself each day and never give up. The transition from a sedentary lifestyle to an active and healthy lifestyle can be daunting, but the YWCA offers a supportive community to make that transition. You got this!!!

What is your workout like and your “go-to” healthy snack?

My workouts vary each week, which I believe is important. Keeping your body guessing all while working various muscle groups will increase your fitness level and push you out of your comfort zone. My cardiovascular workouts vary from swimming to kickboxing to hiking while my resistance training exercises implement my own bowy weight, machines, free weights and even tire flipping, and so much more! My “go-to” healthy snack is a banana, which is packed with nutrients and energy I need to keep myself going.


I’m an ACSM certified personal trainer, AHA CPR and AED “heart saver” (for health professionals) certified, Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Georgia with a major in Exercise Sports Science. My passions include: health, fitness, and helping others achieve their goals through personal training.

Tell us one thing our members may not know about you.

I am truly excited to continue to meet and get to know members here. Don’t hesitate to say hello or ask anything you would like to know about health and fitness. If you desire to make a positive, healthy change in your life, you are at just the place!


Emily RichterEmily Richter, Aquatics

What class (or classes) do you teach at the YWCA?

I will be teaching swimming lessons as a Water Safety Instructor (WSI). I am not sure exactly what classes I will teach yet, but it will likely be babies and young kids.

Why should people come to your class?

I have loved swimming and being in the water ever since I can remember. My mom has told me stories of my first swimming lessons as a baby and I think that it’s very important to introduce kids to the water as soon as possible. There is so much to enjoy and the sooner you get started the more comfortable you will be.

Who should come to your class?

Anyone who would like to learn to swim. While it’s great to start early, it’s never too late to learn. You should come to my class if you are interested in having fun and learning to love the water!


I have my Water Safety Instructor (WSI) certification, and am an avid swimmer and whitewater kayaker. I am currently training for a half Iron distance triathlon, which requires a 1.2 mile swim. I am passionate about the outdoors and enjoying life to the fullest!

Tell us one thing our Members may like to know about you.

I am an interior designer, graphic designer, and artist when I’m not teaching swimming lessons!



Meet Our Health & Wellness Coordinators!

15 Jul



043 Name/ Title: Susan Kettren, Director of Health and Wellness

How long at the YW: 2 years

Years in Asheville: Almost 9 years

Favorite thing(s) about the YWCA: Feeling the love from everyone.

What you like to do in your spare time: Being relatively new to the mountains, I love to get out and explore all there is to do in the area.

People would be surprised if they knew I…… love collecting southern folk art with my family, particularly face jugs.



046Name/ Title: Charley Cox, Club W Coordinator

How long at the YW: 3 years

Years in Asheville: 15

Favorite thing(s) about the YWCA: All of the diversity in the building.

What you like to do in your spare time: Do fun stuff outside with my daughter.

People would be surprised if they knew I…… love to eat chocolate!



044Name/ Title: Alex Nielson, Child Nutrition Coordinator

How long at the YW: 2 years

Years in Asheville: 11

Favorite thing(s) about the YWCA: The kids! I love watching Child Care kids come in to school in the mornings.

What you like to do in your spare time: Run, cook, bake, garden, go to breweries, play with our dog, and float down the river with friends.

People would be surprised if they knew I…… have the same name as my husband; we are Alex and Alex Mitchell!



053Name/ Title: Kitty Schmidt, Aquatics Coordinator

How long at the YW: 14 years in August 2014

Years in Asheville: 14

Favorite thing(s) about the YWCA:  The people and how welcoming everyone is.

What you like to do in your spare time:  Spend time with family, quilt, and paint.

People would be surprised if they knew I…… love to garden.



041Name/ Title: Katie Souris, Preventive Health Coordinator

How long at the YW:  2 ½ years

Years in Asheville:  8 years

Favorite thing(s) about the YWCA: The team of people I work with and the people I work for in the Diabetes Wellness and Prevention Program and Salsa, Salud y Sabor.

What you like to do in your spare time: Play banjo, hike, eat delicious food, hang out in the woods, spend time with family and friends.

People would be surprised if they knew I…… love salamanders.



049Name/ Title: Pamela White Wolsey, Membership Coordinator

How long at the YW: 4 Months

Years in Asheville: 6 months

Favorite thing(s) about the YWCA: The mission, positive energy, inspirational stories in Club W, classes in the studio, fellow staff.

What you like to do in your spare time: Hike, cook, cuddle with husband and dog and eat (collectively).

People would be surprised if they knew I……  only watch one television show & it’s Jeopardy, which I watch religiously.



Sandra’s SilverSneakers Story

8 Jul

Kuperman, Sandra

Sandra Kuperman, who recently turned 78, was diagnosed with diabetes 40 years ago. As a busy mother of three, her own health and wellness was not a priority for many years.

However, when Sandra joined SilverSneakers® 8 years ago she went from never working out to exercising daily. Now, she maintains good control of her diabetes and also serves as a mentor in the YWCA’s Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program. She facilitates groups, is an active self-manager, and serves as a good example of someone who continues to take on the daily management of a chronic condition by exercising and making diligent eating choices.

Because Sandra leads by example and has one of the most charming personalities around, she has the ability to cultivate long-lasting relationships within the SilverSneakers® program. Participants are well aware of her compassion for others because she is that member that goes above and beyond to help others feel welcome.

Sandra brings newspaper articles and magazines that may help motivate individuals about eating healthy or positive thinking, and she has visited with members who may be unable to attend classes because of illness or injury so that their morale continues to grow while they are away from the program. She deliberately comes to classes early so that she has time to check in with individuals to see how they are doing, and she shares with everyone the most amazing smile that has the ability of lighting up an entire room.

While managing diabetes, back problems, and numbness in her hands presents hurdles, Sandra receives strength through maintaining a healthy diet, exercising even when she does not want to, always focusing on positive thinking, and constantly interacting with others.

It is for these reasons that the YWCA of Asheville nominated Sandra Kuperman for the Richard L. Swanson Inspirational Award, which honors a member of Healthways SilverSneakers® Fitness program whose healthy lifestyle has made a difference in his or her own life and has inspired others.  She inspires and motivates us daily here at the YWCA and we (and our members) are so fortunate to have her in the SilverSneakers® program.

Award finalists will be chosen soon and we will have the ability to vote on the SilverSneakers®  Facebook page for the overall winner in August. Winners will be announced in September.

If you or someone you know is interested in SilverSneakers®, please contact Pamela White Wolsey, Membership Coordinator, at or 828-254-7206, ext. 105.

Happy and Strong in the YWCA Pool

3 Jul

Maria with her mother, Faviola, and her brother.

Maria is 8 years-old, and first came to the YWCA for beginners swim lessons just a few months ago.

Maria’s mother Faviola – who is originally from Mexico – says: “I noticed at the public pool that Hispanic families tend to stay at the edge and not swim. In our culture it’s not so common to learn how to swim, but I want my children to learn for their safety, and so that they can have the same opportunities and be part of the culture here.”

Faviola chose the YW because she had heard that it’s a safe environment, with good instructors. “Maria loves coming here – she has so much fun,” says Faviola. “She has more confidence in the water – I see her improvement every week.”

Asked what she thinks about her swim lessons at the YW, Maria says simply: “I like to learn.”

How does she feel in the water? “Happy and strong.”

Faviola, who cannot swim, says that Maria’s improvement and joy in the water has inspired her to want to sign up for swimming lessons herself.


Ms. Shawn, Maria’s swim teacher, says of her:

“The spirit of this young girl is amazingly huge. The first few lessons I could feel her fear. She was afraid…but willing to try!

“I have taught swimming off and on for about 13 years.  I have never before had a student who has worked so hard, and advanced so quickly.  This young lady has the strength and tenacity of someone much older. She has amazed me on a weekly basis.  She went from being frightened to put her face in the water…to now diving in the 12 feet section of the pool and swimming the full length of the pool on her own. This young girl has courage like I have never witnessed before. 

“I have felt so much joy in watching her not only grow as a swimmer…but as a confident young girl.  There is nothing in the world like being a teacher… and then have your student look you in the eye and SMILE so big.

“It is a proven fact that with consistent swimming lessons children can decrease the chance of a water accident.  As a swim instructor it is my goal to not only teach children the basics of stroke development, but to show them how to be safe around water as well. 

“Maria is an incredible young swimmer who has touched my heart in so many ways.”

Learn more at

MotherLove Lunch Bunch by Holly Gillespie

1 Jul

016Last week, MotherLove hosted our second Lunch Bunch for the summer of 2014.  Our summer Group Sessions hold a special place for the participants that attend.  Summer time for a teen mom can mean isolation, boredom, and discouragement.  School is often a huge social outlet for them now that staying  home with the baby keeps them from joining typical teen outings.  And if they have not yet successfully found work, summer can mean staying at home with the baby by themselves all day, every day.  Anyone who has experienced this kind of solo baby care knows how desperate one can feel for interaction  with someone who doesn’t drool! Coming to MotherLove gets parenting teens out of the house, hanging out with other young moms, and gives their babies a built-in playdate.037

This summer, we are exploring a different aspect of Positive Parenting each time we get together.  Last week, we talked about creating a safe and interesting environment for children.  The young moms that joined us had fun creating baby toys made from simple art supplies and some recycled bottles.

This week, we stepped it up a notch by exploring positive opposites, reinforcement, and imitation.  We played games that had us rephrasing “No!” and “Don’t!” into directing our kids towards behaviors that we want to see.  (Simply state the opposite of the misbehavior in a positive way: “Don’t hit” becomes “Use gentle touches,” or “Use your words.”)  We also brainstormed a list of things babies do naturally that we have the opportunity to reinforce, things like sharing, singing, and letting us know when they need something. 035

The group also took a look at our own actions to sort out things we want our children to mirror, and things we’d rather our kids not imitate.  The take home message for that exercise: if you want your child to do something, show them that you value it by doing it yourself!  We had a great time and everyone went home with a little something for their baby as a thanks for participating.

We’re grateful that the YWCA can provide a safe space for these young moms to come together and support each other as they put their best foot forward for their kids.

Holly Gillespie is the MotherLove Coordinator at the YWCA.


Friday Morning at the YWCA of Asheville

27 Jun

It’s not even lunchtime on a Friday here at the YWCA, but we’ve already been busy!

Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve had going on in our building at 185 S. French Broad Ave this morning.

Charley’s Pump class was packed at 8:15 am. Word must have spread that this class is fun, action packed, and really kicks off your morning.

Pump class 6.27.14


Really exciting for us: we had three staff members working out alongside Charley! From left to right: Pearl (Housekeeping), Charley (Club W Coordinator), Victoria (Guest Services), and Pamela (Membership Coordinator).

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Gary is at Guest Services welcoming members and families. Happy 6-year anniversary at the YW, Gary!

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Inside the gym we’d like to introduce our new Fitness Associate, Ben. He just graduated from Warren Wilson, and is here to help our Club W members with all of their fitness needs! Please say hello and introduce yourself the next time you see him.

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Sean (Fitness Counselor) is leading Jane Stanhope, a Diabetes Wellness & Prevention program participant, through some exercises.

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Upstairs in the administrative offices Coryn (Grants Coordinator) and Holly (MotherLove Coordinator) are meeting to discuss funding opportunities for the MotherLove program.

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And Adrienne (Communications Specialist) Pam (Director of Advancement) and Jewel (Development Coordinator) discovered that they are all wearing their Stand Against Racism t-shirts.



Two players from The Asheville Tourists came and visited with our Summer Camp kids and answered questions about what kinds of snacks the team eats, how many strikes they typically have in a game, and how they came to be baseball players. They then led the kids (and staff) in a Tourists-style warmup!

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Our Pre-K Classroom is playing and learning.

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And our infants and toddlers are enjoying some water play.

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On behalf of the YWCA, we hope you have a great weekend – and that we see you in our building soon!


Asheville DesignBuild Summer Magic!

25 Jun

We are so excited to have been chosen as the Asheville DesignBuild’s summer project!  AVL Design Build 019

The Asheville DesignBuild Studio, a program of the Asheville Design Center, is a multi-disciplinary, hands-on, educational experience that offers students of all design disciplines—architecture, landscape architecture, planning, engineering, graphic design, interior design—an opportunity to significantly contribute to the design and delivery of a new community asset.

The DesignBuild team is working with the YWCA of Asheville to assist in master planning of our campus to improve the vehicular and pedestrian flows. As part of this, they are focusing their built project on enhancing a long run of stairs and creating an outdoor classroom space on the west end of the building. Students engage YWCA members and children, in addition to surrounding community members, to better inform their design process.

AVL Design Build 007Subscribe to Asheville DesignBuild’s amazing blog to read regular updates on their progress. Construction will take place from July 7 through August 7. 

Today, several of the DesignBuild team members were working with our Summer Camp students to help design an art installation for the chain link fencing.


Here’s a video of Clark from DesignBuild talking about why it’s so important to involve youth in the process:


And Caleb (6) talking about the design he created:


Stay tuned here and on the DesignBuild blog for more updates and photos!

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