YMCA Heart Programs

With recently published research indicating blood pressure control has worsened in both men and women since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Scranton YMCA urges community members to make their health a priority by getting a blood pressure screening. 

Blood pressure guidelines from American Heart Association indicate that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.

While high blood pressure and heart disease are serious conditions, the good news is a healthy heart is an achievable goal through lifestyle changes such as lowering sodium intake, eating healthier, and getting more physical activity. Getting help can be as easy as contacting the Y and taking part in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

The Greater Scranton YMCA is continuing its increased availability of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program – which is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps adults at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles to help reduce their chances of developing the disease. Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or suffer a stroke as those who do not have it.

Here in the Greater Scranton region, we have offered the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program for 12 years. The program provides a supportive environment where participants work together in a small group to learn about eating healthier, increasing their physical activity and making other behavior changes with the goal of reducing body weight by 7 percent in order to reduce their risk for developing diabetes. A trained Lifestyle Coach leads the program over a 12-month period. Increased physical activity and moderate weight loss not only reduce diabetes risk, but also have an impact on lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

The Greater Scranton YMCA has seen many participants who had previously been living a sedentary lifestyle come through the program and not only improve their quality of life, but go on to attend multiple group exercises classes a week, as well as regularly visit our wellness center and weight room. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program introduces people to the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and is essential in creating healthier habits both

inside and outside the gym.

In addition to monitoring your blood pressure, reducing sodium intake is a great way to keep your heart healthy. Per the American Heart Association (AHA), too much sodium in your system puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. In some people, this may lead to or raise high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Having less sodium in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure.

“While there are many ways to keep your heart healthy, making a conscious effort to tackle your blood pressure and decrease sodium intake are two quick, effective ways to prevent heart disease,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “No matter what your heart health goal is this year, the Y has a variety of resources to help you get started and achieve them.”

The Greater Scranton YMCA offers a community of diverse individuals who can support all people in meeting their health and well-being goals. Learn more by visiting http://www.greaterscrantonymca.org or stopping into the facility, located at 706 N. Blakely Street, Dunmore, PA 18512.

Grant for Greater Scranton YMCA

The Trustees of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation have authorized a one-year Capital Grant award to the Greater Scranton YMCA in the amount of $500,000. The grant will support capital renovations at the YMCA, including redesign of the welcome center, the newly constructed commercial and teaching kitchens, the creation of dedicated community space and aging instructure.

While a lot has changed at the Greater Scranton YMCA since March, 2020, our pledge has remained, to always be here in times of need. When the devastating effects of COVID-19 swept across the country and landed on our doorsteps, we quickly mobilized to determine how to best serve our community. Our capital renovations will continue to allow our Y to address the growing needs our community faces as we work to heal the whole person and return to normal. Construction began in September, 2021 and ended in March, 2022.

“We are so grateful to The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation for their incredible generosity in turning our dreams into a reality,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “Our recently completed capital renovations have allowed our Y to increase the number of healthy meals and snacks we provide the children in our care; provide our members and community with space to convene; ensure for a secure welcome center; and address infrastructure concerns.”

For more information about the Greater Scranton YMCA and our capital renovations, contact Fisher at (570) 828-3130 or tfisher@greaterscrantonymca.org or visit the Y online at http://www.greaterscrantonymca.org.

Grant to support aquatics staffing at YMCA in Dunmore

Shown at the presentation are, from left: Ken Brewster, Aquatics Director, Greater Scranton YMCA; Cathy Fitzpatrick, Grants and Scholarships Manager, Scranton Area Community Foundation, and Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO, Scranton Area Community Foundation.

The Greater Scranton YMCA was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation to support aquatics staffing at the YMCA.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Scranton YMCA was able to fully staff both pools in its facility and offer 283 swim lessons per session. Following the pandemic, the YMCA has only been able to offer 183 swim lessons per session, a reduction of more than 600 swim lessons annually. The biggest loss, though, has been to our community, as learning to swim is one of the most important life lessons a child can learn.

This grant award from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation, in conjunction with the $14,000 grant award the Greater Scranton YMCA received in May, 2022 from the Scranton Area Community Foundation, has allowed the YMCA to increase lifeguard pay rates with the goal of attracting more staff, as well as retaining existing staff who need a pay increase. Adding more team members to the aquatics department will directly impact the YMCA’s capacity to provide needed services to our community, including offering an increased number of life- saving swim lessons annually, making more pool time available to members and guests, and ensuring the resources are available to implement more youth, adult and family programming.

“We are so grateful to the Robert H. Spitz Foundation for their generous support of our YMCA,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “This grant award, along with the grant we received from the Scranton Area Community Foundation, will allow our YMCA to increase the number of swim lessons we offer annually, as well as add additional lifeguards to our team.”

For more information about aquatics programming at the Greater Scranton YMCA, contact Ken Brewster, Aquatics Director, at kbrewster@greaterscrantonymca.org or call (570) 828- 3112.