ROCKFORD (WREX) — With the New Year just around the corner, some are setting new goals. At his YMCA in Rock River Valley, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging have always been a focus, but there is a strong focus on inclusion for those who may have physical limitations. We are building more roads.
Gina Calveris, Senior Director of Healthy Living, YMCA Rockford, said:
“When someone walks through our door, we want to make sure there’s something here for everyone who might walk through our door…”
To ensure that the YMCA Rockford space is inclusive, The Y wants the local community to know that everyone is welcome, regardless of physical or mental condition. I’m here. People with limited mobility, special requirements, or even those who may be healing from surgery.
YMCA Inclusion Director Sarah White said, “We’ve been having some coffee chats, and in that coffee chat they’re like, ‘Tell us what you want to offer us.'” of the Rock River Valley.
“[We ask] What have you tried to do in the past that might have hit some roadblocks? How do you change that so it’s no longer the case?”
With multiple comprehensive equipment already in place at YMCAs across the region, they are developing new equipment to help some people in wheelchairs, with canes, or recovering from recent surgery. I am planning to purchase equipment.
Also, some staff are trained to work with children, adults and the elderly with disabilities.
“Another great option, of course, is our pool, especially for people who may have arthritic conditions,” says Karvelis.
“We know that warm water is soothing for people who don’t have as much range of motion as they do for people who don’t have arthritis.”
The YMCA calls people in the community and asks them to join in a “coffee chat” with the new inclusion director. Over the next few months, there will be changes to achieve inclusiveness. Y is willing to work hand in hand with multiple organizations to bring about even more change.
“What are some things we can do and aren’t we doing to better serve you, someone in your family, or someone in your community?” Calveris said.
If you would like to learn more about how inclusion is practiced at the Rock River Valley YMCA, feel free to give us a call. Call 815-489-1252 and ask for Sarah White. You can also visit their website for more information on the programs they offer.