Feb. News: Meeting Childcare Needs During Covid and Beyond

black history month

Celebrating Black History Month

The history of the YMCA – like the history of the United States – is a story of incremental progress toward greater inclusion and equity for all. As we celebrate Black History Month, we remember and honor the Black leaders who helped move the Y – and America – forward on this journey, often in the face of unimaginable challenges. Here are a few of their stories. 

Anthony Bowen
A former slave and the first Black American to become a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office, Anthony Bowen founded the first YMCA for the Black community in Washington, D.C., in 1853, eight years before the Civil War. Additional Black Ys and college chapters were established in the following decades, with membership reaching 28,000 nationwide by the mid-1920s.

Carter G. Woodson
In 1915, at the Wabash Avenue YMCA in Chicago, Carter Woodson organized the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which researched and celebrated the achievements of Black Americans. This led to his starting Negro History Week, the precursor to Black History Month. 

Madam C.J. Walker 
An entrepreneur, philanthropist and social activist, Walker was one of the first self-made female American millionaires. She escaped poverty and built a company selling hair care products, which also gave her sales agents an income of their own. Walker was a philanthropic supporter of the YMCA and participated in and financially supported the NAACP’s anti-lynching movement. 

Jackie Robinson
In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and became the first Black major league baseball player. This same year he also became a volunteer coach at the Harlem YMCA with fellow coach and teammate Roy Campanella.

All month long in our centers and on social media, we’ll continue to celebrate Black Americans who have made – and are continuing to make – a lasting impact on our society.

save and join

Meeting childcare needs during COVID and beyond

When you think of “The Y,” what immediately comes to mind? For more than a thousand local elementary and middle school students, it means a safe place to learn, play, and thrive. Our heroic childcare staff have provided more than 300 days of continuous full-day care since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Derek Lindsey’s 9-year-old daughter, India, is in enrolled in the Y’s program. He says it’s made a huge difference.

“During this pandemic, times have been tough for many families. But with the help of the YMCA and their great staff, my family and so many other families have been able to get through these uncertain times,” Lindsey said. “My wife and I are both hospital employees, and without the YMCA childcare program I’m not sure how we would’ve made it during this pandemic.”

Spots are available for families who need a safe and reliable childcare option during the school year, and summer day camp registration opens March 1 on our website. Financial assistance is available thanks to generous grants and donor contributions.

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The Y is open to serve you safely

Whether you want to swim, play pickleball, lift weights, or run on the treadmill, the Y is a safe, clean place to work out. All Y locations are open for indoor and outdoor fitness with your health in mind.

In addition to increased cleaning, improved air filtration, social distancing, and reduced capacity, we require masks indoors for everyone ages 5 and up, unless you’re in the pool or shower. Starting Feb. 5, we will no longer offer a medical exemption to mask wearing.

Before your visit, go to our Locations page and click on your Y to see the real-time number of people in the building. We also offer a wide range of outdoor and virtual classes. Click here to see our complete member safety guide.

Thanks for staying with us during these trying times. We are grateful to be here to nurture your spirit, mind, and body.

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Go virtual to get fit 

Want to work out from any device, anywhere, anytime? Y members can log in here to access a wide selection of fitness and well-being classes, including strength conditioning, yoga, dance, barre, Pilates, and HIIT.

Virtual Y is an exclusive benefit for active Y members. It’s included in your membership at no additional charge.

New on-demand and livestream classes are added daily, and we plan to add programming from other Y areas later this year.

We also encourage Renew Active Medicare Advantage members to log in to the Virtual Y for online classes. A virtual “check in” counts just like an in-person visit.

member safety

Community leaders serve of Y's Board of Directors

The YMCA of Western North Carolina is fortunate to be guided by some of the area’s most dedicated, talented, and experienced volunteers.

Joe Brumit, owner of Brumit Restaurant Group and Brumit Development Company, is the incoming chair of our Board of Directors.

“When COVID hit this year, it was very devastating to a lot of organizations, and the Y was no exception,” said Brumit. “Fortunately, we were able to still do a lot of our outreach programs with children and feeding people that were in need. I look forward to serving you as the Board Chair for the next couple of years.”

Past Chair Tracy Buchanan, President and CEO of CarePartners, will stay on the Board. Jacqueline Grant, a partner at Roberts and Stevens, is our new Vice Chair.

We are pleased to welcome new member Kevin Young, Employee Relations Manager for The Biltmore Company, as well as returning member John Pierce, Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance at UNC Asheville. Gary Foss of GFoss Consulting will now lead the association’s Development Committee.


Thank you for your support in 2020 

Last year reminded us that as we face challenges together, we build resilience – as individuals, as an organization, and as a community. We know that strong communities are built by people who care about, and for, one another. No matter what challenges the future brings, we can overcome them together.

We invite you to watch our 2020 Annual Meeting, sponsored by First Horizon Foundation, to learn more about our collective impact.

In 2020, generous community support helped us distribute more than 211,000 pounds of fresh produce and more than 100,000 healthy meals, nurture more than 1,600 kids in our childcare programs, provide more than 500 virtual fitness and diabetes prevention classes, and make more than 2,000 wellness calls to seniors facing isolation.

As the pandemic continues, our work is far from over. Please click here to give or make a pledge.

diabetes prevention

From screen time to play time

We know your little ones have spent a good part of the last year cooped up at home or in front of a computer screen. The Y is here to help! Registration is underway or coming soon for a variety of safe and enriching activities to get kids moving again, including swim lessons, basketball clinics, Parents Night Out, and summer day camp.

Click here to find the program(s) of your choice. Use the filters on the left to select your home Y, type of activity, day/time, and more.

YMCA careers

Building a healthier community for all

Community health is at the heart of the Y’s mission, so much so that we have an entire department with that name. From distributing healthy produce in food deserts to diabetes education to cancer support, we offer a range of services to meet community health needs.

The team’s new executive director, Stephanie Stewart, comes to the Y from the Land of Sky Regional Council, where she served as the aging program specialist.

“Stephanie is an exceptional leader whose passion and values align perfectly with our mission and cause,” said Tim Blenco, COO of the YMCA of Western North Carolina. “She brings a wealth of knowledge about WNC, healthy aging initiatives, partner organizations, community health improvement efforts, and evidence-based programming.”  

Registration is now open for several virtual and in-person community health programs, including Taking Control of Type 2, Diabetes Prevention Program, LIVESTRONG at the Y, and Moving for Better Balance. Some classes are available in Spanish. There is no cost to participate.

Learn more about our Community Health programs.

YMCA careers

Serving free, healthy food around the region

We love being out in the community and invite you to join us! We distribute free, healthy produce, no questions asked, at 30 mobile markets in five counties every month. Find the current mobile market schedule here.

We serve free meals for anyone 18 and under at Pisgah View Apartments every Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and at the Ferguson Family YMCA in Candler every Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. We also provide free meals for all ages on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Corpening Memorial YMCA in Marion.

With love from the Y

Feel the love with the Y! Join us Feb. 8-13 for a variety of heart-pounding fun, engaging activities, and member appreciation, both virtually and in our centers. Activities include a free Cupid Community Workout at Westridge Community Fitness on Feb. 13 at 10 a.m., free in-center chair massages, a Health at Every Size Zoom event on Feb. 9 at 6 p.m., and more. Check our social media pages for more information, and thank you for staying with us!

YMCA careers

Now hiring community builders

Working for a nonprofit will challenge and reward you in lots of ways. The Y is now hiring caring, honest, respectful, and responsible individuals who want to make a difference. Hiring bonuses are offered for childcare staff. Join our team today!

Know your W's: Wear, wash and wait