YMCA receives $230,000 grant from 1889 Foundation

Local News

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WTAJ) — The 1889 Foundation announced a $230,000 grant to the YMCA to fund several initiatives that support the foundation’s mission to improving people’s health and well-being.

“When we found out that we were going to be supported by the 1889 Foundation, we were just thrilled to death,” Shawn Sebring, CEO of the Greater Johnstown Community YMCA, said.

He said this donation will create new opportunities for the community.

“Not only has it allowed us to start some new programs here over the next few months, but it’s also allowing us to renovate some spaces.”

The grant will fund the following programs:

  • Community-based cardiac rehabilitation. This program is open to those with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, fibromyalgia, strokes and related conditions who would benefit from increasing their cardiovascular activity but need to be monitored.
  • Diabetes prevention. This program helps people with prediabetes eat healthier, increase their physical activity and lose weight to help delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Obesity impact. A series of programs that will help adults make better lifestyle choices and control their weight for pre-surgery.
  • Blood pressure self-monitoring. This program helps people with high blood pressure learn to monitor and control it.
  • Middle school initiative. Local at-risk youth can earn a membership at the YMCA through service, academics and program involvement.
  • Financial assistance scholarships. These scholarships will enable adults who are unable t afford a YMCA membership to take part in programs and fitness activities, helping to delay disease and improve social/emotional connections
  • Renovations. A new game room will be a multi-use, flexible space primarily for socialization for young adults. The area will be used for group conferences, homework/education, a cafe and future programs such as a chess club, leadership development or lifeguard/first aid training. Babysitting programs will also be offered there.

    A racquetball court renovation will allow the YMCA to move group exercise programs out of the gym, which can then be used for basketball and other sports programs.

“Particularly as a nonprofit, donations are going to be important forever,” Sebring said.

That’s why the 1889 Foundation stepped up to help.

“Physical activity is a key part of maintaining and improving health,” Susan Mann, president of 1889 Foundation, said. “The YMCA offers a wide variety of accessible, affordable programs that encourage people in our region to exercise and live a healthier lifestyle.”

She adds that the programs at the YMCA will also help emotional and mental health, especially in Johnstown’s youth.

“It’s really important for the youth to have a safe place to feel like they can go to, especially use that are maybe from an at-risk population or maybe a more vulnerable community,” Mann said.

The YMCA is working to make these programs accessible.

“This grant allows us to reach all ages, across the community,” Sebring said. “We offer scholarships for those who can’t afford it that allows them to have access to facilities and programs, many of which aren’t offered anywhere else.” 

These efforts are all to serve a community these leaders say they believe in.

“We also really believe that we need to help kids grow up to be gritty, and that is an opportunity to get up from failures and keep trying and keep working hard for the future,” Sebring said.

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