For the past few years, I have gotten the chance to do some unbelievable things within a department of the YMCA that a lot of people may not know exists…The Healthy Actions Department.
Kind of an odd, and possibly “cheesy” name for a department, I know,….But hear me out….
My role as a team member of this department has allowed me to assist in work that is truly changing the lives of people everyday. In this case, I am speaking of people who many times, are forgotten or ignored. The work this department has done is nothing short of amazing, in my opinion. Everything from providing a fun and fantastic way for inner city kids to be active through our Healthy Actions Mobile Unit, to providing access for residents living in West Louisville to fresh fruits and vegetables through our Healthy in a Hurry corner store initiative, to literally impacting thousands of students in the Metro area through our Y5210 Program…..and those are just a few of the programs that have been put into practice. This department has been instrumental in getting the Y outside our walls, bringing the Y to people who may not really know who we are and what we do, and reinforcing to the community that the Y is not just a building. We are an integral player dedicated to addressing the community’s needs, such as the obesity crisis and Diabetes through our Diabetes Prevention Program and our partnership with the U of L Healthy for Life Clinic.
When you look at this “little corner” of the Y, the words “bang for your buck” truly apply.
I could literally go on for pages listing incredible programs and telling stories of people who have taken steps to improve their lives, if not literally saving their own life. (Sounds dramatic, to be sure….but seeing the changes that many folks have made in their lives and knowing that the Y had a direct hand in that is dramatic).
The staff members that work in this department are some of the most creative, passionate and dedicated people I have come across in nearly 16 years with the YMCA. I have learned so much from working with them, and I would never be able to put it into words what it has meant to me.
Sasha Belenky, Erin Brown, Jill Ballard, Mike Bramer, and Becky Gamm have taken the Y places we have never been, through their leadership, innovative spirit, and determination….I liken it to playing on an All Star Team in that you are always motivated to do more and excel, because you are playing with “the best”………..Well,…. I was surely playing with “the best.”
It really has been a privilege to work in this department and have loved being a part of this team. You will all never know how much it has meant to me, and I never will be able to thank you enough or repay you for my experience. You are all great at what you do and you make Louisville a better place for us all……
Thank you for everything mentioned, and thank you for everything else that I know I am remiss in mentioning.