A state grant of $ 286,000 will allow the YMCA of Greater Johnstown to complete major renovations and implement new programs, officials said.
Funding from the Departments of Human Services and Education provides the matching funds required for a $ 230,000 grant from the 1889 Foundation, bringing the total to $ 516,000.
Representative James Rigby, R-Ferndale, announced the state grant.
“It is extremely important to keep the YMCA open and to serve our citizens,” Rigby said in a press release. “When I was approached by the YMCA and the 1889 Foundation, I went to work with my management team to secure funds to keep the doors open. Without the partnership of the 1889 Foundation and my leadership, we would not have been able to achieve this community victory.
The renovations will include a new playroom designed as a multi-purpose space for socializing young adults and the conversion of two of the facility’s three racquetball courts into a physical training room for all ages. In addition to the YMCA’s well-known fitness and sports programs, the renovations will help better serve youth and families with programs designed to promote social and emotional bonding, as well as school programs and activities.
The funding will help develop programs that strengthen the YMCA’s overall mission to “build healthy minds, minds and bodies for all,” said CEO Shawn Sebring.
Four programs being introduced are cardiac rehabilitation, diabetes prevention, blood pressure self-monitoring and the impact of obesity. Each will include classes, workshops and coaching to help targeted participants manage their health and reduce the risks associated with their conditions.
In addition, the funding will expand scholarship programs for youth and adults who cannot afford YMCA membership.
“With Cambria County ranked among the least healthy in the state, it is exciting to see so many organizations working together and providing funds to help make Cambria County healthier,” Sebring said.
“What Representative Rigby has done with public funds will mobilize funding for the 1889 Foundation for maximum impact in the years to come.
“We don’t become unhealthy overnight, so we need time to build systems, programs and connections that will begin to create a healthier community – both physically and mentally healthier. Here at the Y, we are excited about the future again.
Announcing funding for the 1889 Foundation earlier this month, Foundation President Susan Mann noted that the YMCA encourages physical activity which is vital to maintaining or improving overall health.
“The funds committed by the state to support the YMCA will have a positive impact on the health and well-being of countless people in Johnstown,” said Mann.
The YMCA and the 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial have been working to find ways to collaborate to provide new opportunities for county residents, Rigby said.
“With the proximity of the two facilities, conversations about complementary programs and sharing spaces make sense,” Sebring said.
“Recreation and wellness come together when we focus on creating a healthier community.”
Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5057. Follow him on twitter @ PhotoGriffer57.