YWCA of Asheville Chosen as Premier Cares Award Finalist for Diabetes Program

3 Mar

Verner Center for Early Learning’s Rainbow in My Tummy®  program and the YWCA of Asheville’s Diabetes Wellness & Prevention program have both been honored by Premier, Inc. as finalists for the 23rd annual Monroe E. Trout Premier Cares Award. Rainbow In My Tummy was recognized for increasing nutritional literacy of children, families and early childhood caregivers. Diabetes Wellness & Prevention was recognized for addressing health disparities among low-income patients who either have diabetes or are at high risk for developing the condition.003

A panel of national healthcare leaders selects the Premier Cares Award winner and five finalists, all of which receive cash awards for use in further improving their programs. The Cares Award program spotlights these community-based healthcare initiatives and helps other organizations learn to replicate the unique programs by featuring information about them on the Cares Award website. Sponsored by Premier and its member hospitals, the Cares Award recognizes exemplary efforts by not-for-profit community organizations to improve the health of populations in need. Representatives of Verner and the YWCA were honored during Premier’s annual Governance Education Conference, February 23-25.032

“Every year our Cares Award program honors six outstanding organizations that are helping to care for a medically underserved population in their community,” said Susan DeVore, Premier’s president and CEO. “Rainbow in My Tummy is improving the health of communities by providing nutritious food and education to children, child care centers and families. Diabetes Wellness and Prevention is making a true impact by helping to reduce the incidence of diabetes in at-risk patients through weight loss and exercise.”

Verner Center for Early Learning’s Rainbow in My Tummy program received $24,000 as a finalist. Created in 2008 by Verner Center for Early Learning, program staff members work with early care and education care centers to provide training, coaching and resources needed to change the food culture surrounding children ages birth to kindergarten. Goals of the program include significantly increasing the quality of food served to young children and shifting preferences away from processed foods.

From 2012 to 2014, several Head Start centers in the Asheville, North Carolina, area reported a significant drop in obesity rates among children as a result of the program’s work to help child care centers eliminate harmful ingredients from their menus.

“Rainbow In My Tummy exists because we love children and believe that ALL children deserve access to a wide variety of fresh, healthy, naturally colorful foods that taste good and are cooked from scratch. Being recognized by Premier enables us to further expand our services and replicate our program in other child care centers in WNC and across the nation.” Bronwen McCormick, Rainbow In My Tummy® Director

Watch the Rainbow in My Tummy video here.

029The YWCA of Asheville’s Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program also received $24,000 as a finalist. The program was started by the YWCA of Asheville in 2004 to align fitness offerings with their mission of addressing health disparities among low-income and at-risk people. Based on a community health needs assessment, organizers learned that more than 11 percent of area residents had been diagnosed with diabetes and an additional 6 percent had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. The program helps patients understand the disease process, promotes regular exercise and healthy eating, teaches participants to use their medications correctly and helps patients manage their disease with appropriate and consistent lifestyle changes.

Services are offered by Diabetes Wellness and Prevention to many patients at sliding scale cost– including access to fitness facilities and personal training sessions. The program has helped significantly reduce blood sugar/A1c levels among those participating in the program.

In a film about the program shown at the awards ceremony, Susan Edwards, a Diabetes Wellness & Prevention program participant, shared that in the ten months she had participated in the program she had lost 30 pounds and several inches. Ms. Edwards says: “It’s been incredible to know that we’re all here working towards a goal of getting healthy, and [we] have the encouragement and the education to make it happen.” Since the film was produced Ms. Edwards has lost an additional 10 pounds, and says that not only her health but the health of her whole family has really improved.022

Watch the Diabetes Wellness & Prevention video here.

This year’s Cares Award recipient is Telepsychiatry Improves Outcomes in Frontier Communities of Orofino, Idaho. The program provides adult and pediatric psychiatry specialty services using teleconferencing to help care for a remote population of at-risk patients.

We Love Dads, Too!

2 Mar

By Holly Gillespie, MotherLove Coordinator

This spring, MotherLove is stepping up our game on serving young dads.  For years now, we have known that the story of “the Dead-Beat Teen Dad” is an inaccurate portrayal of a far more complicated host of issues.  The young dads MotherLove has encountered in the past are present, full of promise, and range from confident to complacent to completely overwhelmed. We aim to even the score.  (And, yes, I am using sports references intentionally…)

Photo of MotherLove participants by Sandra Stambaugh, April 2014

Photo of MotherLove participants by Sandra Stambaugh, April 2014

In general, over half of the babies we serve each year in MotherLove have their Daddy in the picture.  How much support these young men receive has a big impact on their role in that picture, and how involved they are empowered to be in their children’s lives.

Young dads face challenges as diverse as young moms.  Some are great dads, but have a troubled relationship with the mom.  Some have a great relationship with the mom, but her parents won’t let him come stay with her and the baby.  Some fall in love with their babies the moment they are born, but lack any paternal role model, and so stray from the young family to play out patterns that were initiated long before their child was born.  It’s complicated, and it warrants some “unpacking.”

This spring, we will distribute a survey to each teen dad we encounter through our Lunch Bunches, Groups, and Home Visits.  The survey will help us to know what support the dads feel they need, and what they would like that support to look like.  A Dads-Only Cook Out? Employment Skills 101?  A Newborn Care Class?  A Why-Is-My-Girlfriend-Acting-Like-That Tutorial?  We will find out, and we will deliver, as best we can.

And YOU can help.  Do you know any dads that would enjoy helping with a young dads  group or event?  Send them our way!  Please contact Gerry Leonard, our YWCA Volunteer Coordinator, at gleonard@ywcaofasheville.org to arrange a meeting with MotherLove staff to get on board with this new initiative.

We can’t hope to address the needs of the next generation without recognizing that it takes two to tango, and it takes a village to raise a child.

YWCA History at the aSHEville Museum

24 Feb

Have you been to the aSHEville Museum yet????????????????????????????????

Opened just this past July, aSHEville Museum is a women’s cultural museum with a mission to contribute to the creation of more just and equitable world through its collection of intimate exhibits, which range from historic to contemporary in scope, and local to global.

Core exhibits include: Appalachian Women, 100 Years of Sexism in Advertising, and A History of Hysteria. aSHEville Museum also houses a variety of rotating exhibits.

???????????????????????????????The YWCA is proud that one of the current exhibits is a display of several historical panels created for our centennial celebration in 2007.

The panels address the YWCA of Asheville’s historical role in:Where It All Began (about the origins of the YWCA in Asheville and its founding in 1907), Health & Wellness, Guiding Teens, Empowering Women, E. Thelma Caldwell and the Boosters Club, Eliminating Racism in Asheville, and the Phyllis Wheatley Branch.

Heidi Swann, co-founder of the museum, says: “Having the YWCA Centennial Exhibit has afforded our museum visitors insights into the many significant accomplishments that have been achieved by decades of committed people in our local community, who have worked together for the common goals of providing greater opportunities for women and girls, and in addressing racism. It gives hope and perspective to see how many positive changes occurred over this span of time.”

The aSHEville Museum is located at 35 Wall Street downtown, with a sliding scale admission fee. More information here.

Special offer now through March, 2015: Mention this blog and receive a complimentary cup of hot tea when you visit the museum.

“Something I Want and Need to Do”: Francine Young’s Story

20 Feb
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Francine Young

My name is Francine, and I’m a participant in the YWCA’s Diabetes Wellness & Prevention program.

I’ve lived in Asheville all of my life, and I have a 26 year-old son. I’ve been a bus driver with Asheville Regional Transit for 16 years.

My doctor had been telling me for some time that being overweight and having high blood pressure was putting me at risk for diabetes, but I never exercised. Then my friend Robin told me about the YWCA’s program, and I thought – that sounds like something I want and need to do.

Since I was accepted into the program in August I’ve made huge changes to my lifestyle. I go to wellness classes at the YW every Thursday, as well as support group meetings every week. I exercise three times per week – I take Zumba on Mondays and Tuesdays, and have personal training with Sean, who’s not afraid to challenge me. He’ll come over when I’m on the elliptical and say- “You wanna pump it up a little?”

In the group classes I’ve learned quite a bit. For example, I now check out the labels on my food – if I can’t say the name of the ingredient it’s not supposed to be in there!

Everyone is friendly at the YW, and everyone is helpful – whether they’re staff, other participants, or gym members. A barrier I always felt about exercising at other gyms is having the feeling of: “I don’t fit in here.” I didn’t feel comfortable exercising on my own in those situations. But I’ve realized I can’t wait on anybody – and at the YW, I don’t have to. As soon as I walk in the front door I know that people are happy to see me, and they care about my health.

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Francine works out with her YWCA Fitness Counselor, Sean.

I had a physical a few weeks ago, and although I haven’t lost much weight yet, my blood pressure has gone down. My doctor told me: “I’m proud of you.” That felt good.

My goals for the rest of my time in the program are to continue lowering my blood pressure – it would be nice to be off all, or at least some, of my meds.

Another goal of mine is to try a water aerobics class. This may not seem like a huge deal, but I don’t know how to swim. I am so scared. But when I get into that water aerobics class I’ll know for sure that nothing can stop me. I’ve always been terrified of swimming… but you know what? I ordered myself a swimsuit.

Having A Support System: Charlton Owens’ Story

30 Jan

The following is an excerpt from a speech given by Charlton Owens at a recent YWCA event.

I’m Charlton Owens, and I’ve worked for the YWCA the past 11 years as a public safety officer. I make sure that our kids, our members, and our staff are safe.Charlton Owens

Around 5 years ago I was having health problems, and my doctor told me that I had diabetes. My blood sugar was over 600 – that’s a level that can lead to stroke, heart attack, total kidney failure, losing limbs.

I was watching TV one day and my eyes just cut off. I couldn’t see for a few hours – it was like turning off a light switch. It was my wife’s first time seeing me so scared… I remember she wiped a tear off my face. This experience gave me a good respect for people who go blind from diabetes. My doctor told me that I should join the Diabetes Wellness program at the YW.

But then my 25 year-old son died in a car accident – he left behind a daughter and an unborn son. A year and 8 months later, my wife passed away from complications due to her diabetes. We had been married 20 years.

I was grieving for my wife and son, but I knew that I had to remember that my other son and two grandkids relied on me. I started going to Diabetes Wellness meetings, and I was totally committed. I got a whole lot more active, especially after I went to the support groups and heard the horror stories from other diabetics in the program.

I would exercise before I went to work. I had to change my whole entire diet and lay off the fatty foods. Now I have a nickname at my local grocery store – “the kale man.” I eliminated sodas. My car stays parked a lot of the time. I’m 64 pounds lighter than I was the same time as last year, and my A1C level is currently 6, which is awesome.

I had a great support system right here at the YW. When you have a great support team it motivates you to get your life back on track. That’s why I go out of my way to tell people about the program, whether I’m on the clock or off the clock.

It just means that much to me because I learned a lot, and it changed my life.

“You Inspire Me”: Three Generations at the YWCA’s Club W

20 Jan
Alex, Phyllis, and Cathy

Alex, Phyllis, and Cathy – 3 generations of Club W members!

Alex Mitchell, Cathy Nielson, and Phyllis Strupp have a special multi-generational tradition: staying healthy at the YWCA’s Club W Health & Fitness Center!

Alex moved to Asheville to attend UNC-Asheville in 2003, where she majored in Health & Wellness. In 2007 Cathy retired from her UNC faculty position teaching occupational therapy, and moved with her husband to Asheville – followed 4 years later by her mother, Phyllis.

Now, Alex is the Child Nutrition Coordinator with the YW – she manages the Rainbow In My Tummy kitchen, which makes the meals for Child Care, School Age, and Drop-In; she keeps records for federal food reimbursement; and she leads nutrition education activities for the children.

Cathy says: “This is the fourth gym I’ve tried in Asheville, and I would never go anywhere else now. It just took me awhile to land here! I like the nonprofit environment, and the diversity of age, gender, and ability level. There’s more racial and ethnic diversity than anywhere else in Asheville. It’s very comfortable.”

Phyllis, who is now 91 and only gave up playing tennis 10 years ago, is a SilverSneakers member. Cathy attends early morning spin class twice per week and also works out in the gym. Alex joins her mom in spin once a week, and can also be seen running on the treadmill.

Alex says: “I love it because I see them all the time. It’s nice to watch grandma exercising in the multi-purpose room through the kitchen window.”

Phyllis adds: “And we get to smell what she’s cooking!”

Cathy says: “My mom took up tennis in her 50s, and now she’s the best SilverSneakers member! Alex took up running 5 years ago, and now she’s run in 4 half marathons. I’m here in the middle trying to keep up!”

Cathy then turns to her mother and daughter and says: “You inspire me.”

Club W Memberships help support the mission and programs of the YWCA! We’re currently offering a special offer for new members: Now through March 1, 2015 – new Club W members have no enrollment fee, no annual contract, a free health assessment, and a $20 YW gift card that may be applied towards membership, personal training, gear, and more.

For current Club W Members, consider becoming a Club W Role Model. For every new member you refer who joins Club W, we will give you a $15 YWCA gift certificate, which can be applied towards gear, personal training, membership dues, locker rentals, swim lessons, drop-in day care, guest passes, or a donation to a YW program of choice. The referred member can try us out using a free 7-day pass available at Guest Services, and may join up until March 1, 2015 with no enrollment fee, no contract, a $20 YW gift card, and a 30 minute personal training assessment.

Learn more about the YWCA’s Club W Health & Fitness Center at www.ywcaofasheville.org/clubw

I Always Feel Better: Allison Oliver’s Story

29 Dec

001 (2)Allison Oliver grew up in Miami, Florida and moved to Asheville 16 years ago. A single mom of a 13-year old at Asheville Middle, Allison is an Administrative Assistant with Asheville City Schools and runs her own online jewelry business.

Allison has been a Club W member since 2007. When her daughter was young Allison would take her to the drop-in child care, which she describes as “amazing.” Years ago Allison’s daughter learned to swim here; now they regularly swim together, and her daughter participates in the teen swim club. Clearly a fan of the water, Allison does water aerobics three times per week.

“I always feel better after exercising at the YW,” says Allison. “I like the people here… everybody is kind. I have friends whom I met here years ago. It’s a great place.”

Allison admits that she did, at one point, check out some other gyms to see what they offered. But, “the process made me feel like I was buying a car. I don’t feel that pressure at the YW.” As a single woman she says she also doesn’t feel pressure from other members: “At the YW I don’t feel like I’m on display.”

Allison appreciates that: “Club W has a huge variety of classes, and it’s never over crowded. Any time I’ve had a request, it’s been heard. I feel like the YW is always trying to do better.”

Finally, the cherry on top for Allison is the YW’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. “That’s an amazing message. I think it’s important to have it out there.”

Club W Memberships help support the mission and programs of the YWCA! We’re currently offering a special offer for new members: Now through March 1, 2015 – new Club W members have no enrollment fee, no annual contract, a free health assessment, and a $20 YW gift card that may be applied towards membership, personal training, gear, and more.

For current Club W Members, consider becoming a Club W Role Model. For every new member you refer who joins Club W, we will give you a $15 YWCA gift certificate, which can be applied towards gear, personal training, membership dues, locker rentals, swim lessons, drop-in day care, guest passes, or a donation to a YW program of choice. The referred member can try us out using a free 7-day pass available at Guest Services, and may join up until March 1, 2015 with no enrollment fee, no contract, a $20 YW gift card, and a 30 minute personal training assessment.

Learn more about the YWCA’s Club W Health & Fitness Center at www.ywcaofasheville.org/clubw

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