The YMCA of San Joaquin County was selected by YMCA of the USA to participate in program to give community leaders strategies to ensure that healthy eating and physical activity are within reach for everyone who lives in and around San Joaquin County.
Pioneering Healthier Communities is part of the YMCA’s Healthier Communities Initiatives, which focus on making policy and environmental changes that support healthy lifestyles. They are built on the concept that local communities can work together to give all community members healthy choices. Through grants awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 10 communities were selected to join the initiative. YMCA of San Joaquin County was the only one in California to receive the grant this year.
The YMCA of San Joaquin County has programs at 23 sites in Stockton, Lodi, Linden, Tracy and Modesto. More than 2,600 children participate in YMCA programs each week on 11 sports fields and gymnasiums throughout the area.
“The Y is dedicated to strengthening community,” said Armando Villapudua, YMCA board chairman. “Participating in (Pioneering Healthier Communities) will help our families, friends and neighbors live their lives to the fullest potential. We are honored to be selected to be part of the growing movement of communities who are leading healthy change through policy strategies.”
YMCAs involved in Healthier Communities Initiatives are helping families put nutritious food on the table by bringing farmers markets with fresh fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods where healthy food options are scarce; making streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists through “complete streets” plans; giving parents peace of mind when they let their kids walk to school by creating safer routes; and keeping a generation of kids healthier by working with schools to increase physical education and physical activity during the school day.
Launched in 2004, Y-USA has previously provided seed funding to 118 YMCAs and their communities to take on policy and environmental change strategies thanks to funding from CDC, and corporate and foundation donors. Seventeen YMCAs and their communities, including the 10 recently selected, are participating with a health equity focus, which involves more intentionally addressing the needs of communities of color and low-income populations.