News - Page 2 of 10 - YMCA of Southwestern Indiana

Our YMCA Condemns Racism

To our community,

Over the past week, the national conversation has moved from the pandemic crisis to racial inequalities that equally plague our community.

The YMCA of Southwestern Indiana is an organization for all and condemns racism and divisions in our community. Our mission is to respond to community needs; but that can only be achieved when we listen to and understand one another.

As we attempt to get back to “normal” from the pandemic, we must all acknowledge that the unfortunate truth is that what may be “normal” for vulnerable populations is racism, inequity, and fear. Already traumatized by a pandemic virus, we are also facing another long-standing silent plague. And the trauma is real. Children are asking their parents to make sense of this world and many can only look back and say, “I don’t know.”

We need to ensure that the next generation of children no longer have to live in a state of fear and inequity. At the Y, one of our areas of focus is Social Responsibility. We are on the front lines of the issue of equality. Every day our staff not only have the opportunity, but the duty, to help shape the hearts and minds of young children and youth in our care.

In EVERY program we run at the YMCA, we have the chance to create a learning opportunity for love of neighbor, equality, and conflict-with-civility. It’s not just basketball, swim team, camp, or youth & government; it’s an opportunity to teach and mentor. There isn’t a greater reminder of the need to speak truth into the hearts and minds of impressionable youth than now. But this isn’t new. What’s happening around us now is a reminder that vigilance is a never ending duty that we owe our neighbors and our children.

The Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, and faith are elements that guide us during these challenging times and all the days ahead. We must remain optimistic. We must also be honest about this crisis and be willing to take positive steps forward.

We, the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana and its Board of Directors, commit ourselves to:

  1. Have zero tolerance for racism and prejudice among our staff, members, program participants, and volunteers;
  2. Encourage staff and members to speak up when they see something unjust happening;
  3. Connect our communities in order to create greater harmony, understanding and interconnectedness;
  4. Remain steadfast in our commitment to a culture that values diversity and inclusion;
  5. Collaborate with our public officials, community leaders and partners to combat inequities locally for greater collective impact;
  6. Increase our investment in social responsibility programming that supports youth and young leaders as they organize to change our community and the world for the better; and
  7. Educate ourselves, across our Association, on what it truly means to be for all.

In the coming days, we will undoubtedly continue to experience the pain and sorrow of injustice and inequity. We must remain connected and dialogue about what we witness and experience. Remember that we are in this together, and we must extend grace to one another as we do so. We know that when we work as one, we move people and communities forward.

 

With respect and gratitude,

 

Johnathan Pope

President & CEO

YMCA of Southwestern Indiana

 

 

Brian Hancock

Board President

YMCA of Southwestern Indiana

Meeting the Needs of our Community During COVID – Food Distribution

Thank you to our friends at Penske for helping load and deliver 13 pallets of food to our Caldwell Community Center as part of our food distribution efforts. Our Y has delivered over 2,400 meals and food bags to local youth and families while we have been closed and will be able to provide even more with support from the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund of the Greater Evansville Region and Indiana United Ways with funding provided by Lilly Endowment Inc.

#StayWithUs #BetterTogether #PauseForPositivity #YConnectionCounts

See our other initiatives during COVID-19 >>

12 Smart Ways to Keep Kids Busy When School’s Out

Since schools are out for the rest of the academic year and many of us are trying to figure out how to work from home, keeping kids occupied when school is out can be a challenge. Indulging them with a little bit of screen time here or there shouldn’t worry you. When you are out of options though, here are a few ideas:

1. Get them outside. It doesn’t matter whether it’s shooting hoops, taking a bike ride, a run, skateboarding, digging in the garden, drawing with chalk or a photo scavenger hunt. The act of simply getting some fresh air (and burning off excess energy) is what’s important.

2. Motivate them to help out around the house. Appeal to younger kids’ pride that they’re “allowed” to sweep (and wash) the floor, dust, or fold laundry. Let them know chores are a way that they can help out so we all get through this together.

3. Crafty is always cool. Sure coloring is commonplace, but sometimes messy is what’s needed to hold a child’s attention. Paint, make a collage, cut out paper garlands, or create colorful masks. For older kids, encourage them to make embroidery floss friendship bracelets, draw comics, cover their bedroom walls with their favorite photos, or make necklaces or earrings. Check out some of our craft projects on Virtual Y!

4. Drag out those collections. We’re talking theirs and yours. They have their seashells, action figures, Pokemon cards, etc. But do you still have YOUR 80’s collection, stamp collection, crystal/mineral samples, or coin collection? You might be surprised how fascinated kids might be with what you were fascinated with.

5. Build a fort. Yeah, you might not be able to walk through the living room, but it will keep kids occupied with the engineering of building it plus the creative imagination of what happens inside it.

6. Build anything. Now’s the time to drag out the Legos, Magna-tiles, model airplanes, construction sets, etc. It’s great STEM fun to build things.  Check out other STEM activities and videos on Virtual Y!

7. Play puzzles or board games. Jigsaw puzzles are great for all ages when piece sizes and counts are appropriate. Think beyond the traditional games but try to moderate any competitiveness among siblings.

8. Look at photo albums. Nostalgia reigns, even among the young. Break out the baby books and your childhood family photos. Make Throwback Thursday any day of the week.

9. Get cooking. Younger kids love to assist in the kitchen and older kids can scour cookbooks selecting a recipe or two that strikes their fancy. Cooking is a wonderful demonstration of measurement and math as well as the science of baking.

10. Read and write. Use downtime away from the classroom as an opportunity to have them order a title or two from an online bookstore that they can really get lost in. Or ask them to write a letter to a favorite aunt or grandparent or a friend they’re missing. Or get them hooked on journaling.

11. Listen to a podcast. They’re not screen time, but equally as entertaining. There are so many amazing podcasts for kids that can either enthrall them in stories or educate them.

12. Play with what they already have. Remember all those toys they played with a couple of times before they moved on the next thing? There’s a high probability that there are toys and projects in the house that they just haven’t used for a while or that just need finished. Dust them off, and get to it.

Source: RallyHealth.com; Ann Milanowski, March 16, 2020.

10 Tips to Eating Healthy When You’re Working from Home

 

You’re on a conference call and somehow wandered into the kitchen. Next thing you now you’re eating crackers and dry cereal out of the box. Or maybe you got so caught up in a project that you suddenly realize you haven’t eaten a thing all day. Or perhaps the “I’ll just have a handful of chips as I work” mentality turned into accidentally eating the entire bag.

Keeping your nutrition in check can be tough when your home is your office. You feel comfortable and there’s plenty of food available. Unlike in the office, you’re free to graze all day and the fridge is all yours; but this habit can wreak havoc on your waistline and halt your productivity.

Here are ten tips to eating healthy while you WFH:

1. Don’t work in or near the kitchen. Try to set up a desk in an area that’s not near the kitchen. You might be tempted to wander over and check the fridge if it’s constantly in your line of vision. Only go into your kitchen during the workday for planned snacks and/or meals.

2. Plan your snack and meal times. Just as you schedule and plan your day (get up, work out, shower, etc), establish when throughout the day you’re going to eat. If you know you like to eat lunch around noon, plan for that. And if you’d like to have a snack in the late afternoon, plan for that too.

 

3. Make sure you actually eat. Once you actually start working, it can be hard to take a break to actually eat, but it’s important to know your hunger signs and realize that not eating can affect your alertness and productivity. If needed, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to get up and eat something.

4. Meal prep your lunches. There’s something freeing about being able to whip up whatever you’d like for lunch, but for some, it can be an additional source of anxiety. If you can, try to meal prep your lunch just like you would if you were physically going into work.

 

5. Focus on real food. Balanced, nutritious food makes us more productive. It keeps us fuller longer and helps us focus. Understand that what you eat will impact your mood and energy level. Focus on protein, fiber, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.

6. Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to headaches and fatigue, which are both not good for your productivity. Just as you’d fill up a water bottle at work, keep water next to your work station at home too.

7. Be careful of too much caffeine. Having access to endless cups of coffee might seem like a great idea, but tread carefully when it comes to caffeine. Too much is known to cause headaches, anxiety, digestive issues and even fatigue.

 

8. Don’t buy junk food. Don’t stock your fridge or pantry like a vending machine. This can lead to eating just because you can! Try your best to keep junk food out of your house, especially food that you know can trigger a binge for you. Out of sight, out of mind.

9. When you eat, just eat. You might be tempted to continue working through your lunch break now that your co-workers aren’t physically there, but don’t do it! Being distracted during a meal can lead to over-eating and decreased satiety (satisfaction) from the meal.

10. Portion out snacks and meals before eating. Never eatout of the bag or original container because it’s much harder to control portions that way. Check the serving size on the container if you need extra guidance.

Source: RallyHealth.com; Staff Cleveland Clinic; April 7, 2020.

 

Virtual Y Is Now Available Online

Digital content is now available for you on our Virtual Y so you and your family can keep pace with your fitness goals and stay active and engaged during this short period. Content will be updated regularly to include things like cooking instruction, activities for kids while they are on break, and exercise for the soul with our Christian Emphasis content. As a member, these resources are made available to you, especially during this time.

Click below to see all the possibilities under MEMBER RESOURCES.

VIRTUAL Y

 

We want to keep you engaged. Many of you have reached out and offered to volunteer your time, that you understand the steps we’ve taken, and are happy to be a part of a front-line organization that is still serving community needs during this time.

Thanks for your support! This is a time when we need you as a member the most.

Even with limited access, your presence as a part of our organization is powerful. It allows us to serve in times like these:

  • Ensuring that children in underserved communities receive nourishing meals
  • Checking on our seniors that are now isolated
  • Providing child care services for our medical responders

While waiting for this to pass, our team is out serving on your behalf. Membership has its highest value in times like these and we thank you for that.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

– Romans 8:28

COVID-19 Update: Spring Break Camps Cancelled

At the YMCA, the health and well-being of our staff, members, program participants, and community is our utmost priority. As we navigate the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation together, we wanted to share an important update with you.

Like many other organizations in our community right now, we find ourselves continually evaluating our available resources. For the Y, our most valuable resource is our staff. With a varying workforce trained in educational protocols, child safety, and lifesaving skills, we are in a unique position to help during this time when school is out of session, but we recognize that demand for childcare services and activities far exceeds what we can provide to everyone. As an organization that responds to community needs, we feel our resources should be directed where our community needs it the most during this time, which are to essential community personnel like healthcare workers and emergency responders.

We have partnered with Ascension St Vincent and Deaconess Health System to be able to provide childcare services during this time to their essential personnel, and with the cooperation of the EVSC, we will be using a few specific school sites to do so.

Given the need to re-allocate some of our human resources for the greater good of our community, we will be cancelling the following Spring Break programming.

Over March 23rd-27th, we will be cancelling Spring Break Camps including Full Day camps through our Childcare Services branch, 2-Day Spring Break Sports Camps for basketball, volleyball, soccer, and gymnastics and our $10 Open House Clinics for basketball, volleyball, and soccer.

Further disruption and changes to our programming and member services may occur without much notice. To stay informed, we encourage you to regularly check this website for potential changes to program and activity schedules along with the CDC (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus) and Indiana Department of Health (www.in.gov/isdh) websites for important updates and safety information. The YMCA will also send notifications through email, mobile app, and our Facebook page.

We ask for your grace and patience as we all navigate through these unprecedented circumstances. Let’s all work together to keep everyone healthy and safe.

Low Carb Casseroles That Are Perfect Right Now

Casseroles are satisfying any time of year, but especially when it’s cold outside. Not only is there something comforting about coming home to a hot, one-dish meal, but the convenience of being able to prep a casserole ahead of time and then just stick it in the oven is huge.

A lot of traditional casseroles tend to be high in unhealthy carbs and fat while lacking in nutrients, but making a few simple ingredient changes can create a healthy one-dish dinner. Check out these three tricks below — along with three of my favorite recipes — that not only cut the bad carbs but also boost vegetable intake, increase fiber and other nutrients, and minimize saturated fat and sodium.

Trick #1:  Think Vegetables First

One of the easiest ways to lower carbs and boost nutrients is swap a starch like white pasta or rice for a vegetable. Using cooked spaghetti squash strands or spiralizing or shaving thin strips of vegetables like zucchini, sweet potato or beets offers a shape similar to spaghetti and a sturdy base for sauce, protein or cheese. In place of white rice, consider using cauliflower “rice” or crumbles in the casserole itself or to serve the casserole over.

Not sure how veggie noodles will go over at your house? Check out this recipe:

Zucchini Pizza Bake Casserole Recipe

Using fresh zucchini spirals and jarred marinara sauce make this pizza-like casserole a breeze to prepare. Choose a marinara sauce that contains 6 grams of sugar or less per serving or contains “no added sugars.” Spiralized zucchini is available in the produce sections of most groceries, but you can also purchase whole zucchini to spiralize or shave at home. Serves 6.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4½   cups zucchini spirals (about 1 lb. zucchini)
  • ⅛    tsp. salt
  • 1       garlic clove, minced
  • ½      lb. lean ground beef (10% fat) or Italian turkey sausage
  • 1½   cups tomato-basil marinara sauce
  • 1       (14.5 oz.) can no-salt-added petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • ¼      tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2       tsp. olive oil
  • 1       small onion, sliced
  • 1       green bell pepper, cored and sliced
  • 2       cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1½   ounces uncured turkey pepperoni, halved
  • 1½   cups shredded part-skim mozzarella or Italian cheese blend
  • ¼      cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Chopped fresh basil (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Spread zucchini spirals over a clean kitchen towel. Sprinkle with salt; let sit 30 minutes. Squeeze towel to remove excess moisture from zucchini.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ground beef; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain; return to skillet. Add marinara sauce, drained tomatoes, zucchini spirals, and pepper. Simmer 3 minutes or until warm throughout. Spoon mixture into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  4. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper; saute 4 minutes or until beginning to turn tender. Add mushrooms, stirring to combine, and cook 2 minutes. Drain any excess liquid from skillet. Using slotted spoon, top zucchini mixture with sauteed vegetables and pepperoni.   Sprinkle with cheeses.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and beginning to brown on edges. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.

NUTRITION FACTS

Calories 261; total fat 13g (saturated fat 6g); cholesterol 51mg; sodium 583mg; total carbs 17g (dietary fiber 4g, total sugars 10g, added sugars 1g); protein 21g

*Zucchini spirals can be purchased at most groceries in packages ranging from 14 to 15 oz. These typically have 4 to 5 cups of spirals. To make your own spirals, purchase 1 to 1 ¼ lb.  whole zucchini. Trim and then spiralize or use a vegetable peeler to create thin strips.

Zucchini has such a mild flavor and texture so similar to cooked spaghetti. The casserole also allows for customization based on your favorite pizza toppings.

Trick #2: Be Smart About Carbs

Carbohydrates aren’t bad; the body needs some each day to function. But there are two keys for healthy eating. One is not overdoing unhealthy carbs — something that’s hard to do, thanks to the abundance of snack foods and added sugars around us each day. The second key is opting for good-quality carb foods that are composed of fiber and complex carbs, such as beans, vegetables, and whole grains. Lower-quality carbohydrate foods like regular pasta and white bread often lack fiber and nutrients and provide only refined carbs like starch and added sugars due to milling and processing. These carbs tend to trigger spikes in blood glucose, as well as unhealthy insulin responses by the body, which can lead to cravings and hunger later in the day.

Have a Taco night with this popular casserole recipe:

Cheesy Taco Casserole Recipe

A lot of recipes for Southwestern-inspired casseroles are heavy in unhealthy carbs like tortilla chips and white rice, as well as high-fat cheese and sour cream. But in this version, whole-grain corn tortillas take the place of chips or white flour tortillas. This swap provides more fiber, fewer calories and carbs, and less saturated fat and sodium. Serves 8.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 6  corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • ⅛   tsp. salt
  • 1¼  lbs. lean ground beef (90/10)
  • 1  large onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 2½   Tbsp. lower-sodium taco seasoning
  • 1  (14.5-oz.) can no-salt-added black beans, drained
  • 1   (14.5-oz.) can fire-roasted finely diced tomatoes
  • ½   cup fresh refrigerated salsa
  • 1   Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1½ cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • ¼  cup chopped green onions
  • 4   cups chopped romaine lettuce

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut tortillas into ½ to 1-inch squares.  Cover a sheet pan with foil; place cut tortillas on lined pan. Coat tortilla pieces with cooking spray; sprinkle with ⅛ tsp. salt, tossing to coat all pieces. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, stirring tortilla pieces every 3 to 4 minutes. (Tip: Watch pieces on edge to prevent excess browning.) Let cool.
  3. Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and onion. Cook, stirring to crumble beef, 7 minutes or until beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess liquid; return meat mixture to skillet. Add taco seasoning, stirring well. Add beans, tomatoes, salsa and lime juice. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until warm throughout and slightly thickened.
  4. Sprinkle half of toasted tortilla pieces in the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with half of beef mixture, ¼ cup cheese, and remaining tortilla pieces. Add remaining beef mixture and sprinkle remaining cheese over top.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until warm throughout and cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle with green onions. Let stand 5 minutes. Then cut into 8 pieces or spoon each serving over ½ cup chopped romaine lettuce.

NUTRITION FACTS

Calories 322; total fat 14g (saturated fat 6g); cholesterol 66mg; sodium 472 mg; total carbs 23g (dietary fiber 5g, total sugars 6g, added sugars 0g); protein 24g.

A lot of recipes for Southwestern-inspired casseroles are heavy in unhealthy carbs like tortilla chips and white rice, as well as high-fat cheese and sour cream. But in this version, whole-grain corn tortillas take the place of chips or white flour tortillas. This swap provides more fiber, fewer calories and carbs, and less saturated fat and sodium. Adding canned black beans and tomatoes to taco-seasoned meat creates a nutrient-dense filling. Top with a little cheese, and serve over a crisp bed of lettuce.

Trick #3: Reduce, Don’t Eliminate

Low-carb doesn’t mean no carbs. In fact, a favorite trick is to simply halve or slightly reduce the starchy component, whether that’s potatoes, pasta, grains, or beans. Add extra vegetables to make up for some of the missing carbs so that serving sizes are still ample. Many times, you won’t even notice the change.

Breakfast casseroles make a hearty meal any time of the day, but many rely on hash browns or bread cubes to bulk up the egg mixture. Check out this breakfast casserole recipe:

Roasted Sweet Potato & Sausage Breakfast Casserole Recipe

Breakfast casseroles make a hearty meal any time of the day, but many rely on hash browns or bread cubes to bulk up the egg mixture. In Roasted Sweet Potato and Sausage Breakfast Casserole, white potatoes are swapped for more nutrient-dense sweet potatoes. Roasting caramelizes the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes and ensures that they’re tender. Adding a vegetable like spinach means fewer unhealthy carbs and gets in some leafy greens. Serves 8.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1       (1-lb.) sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 3 to 3½ cups)
  • 2       tsp. olive oil
  • ½      tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • ¼      tsp. garlic powder
  • 8       oz. mild Italian turkey bulk sausage
  • 1       onion, diced
  • 4       cups coarsely torn baby spinach
  • 9       large eggs
  • ¼      cup 1% or low-fat milk
  • ½    cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ⅓    cup grated Parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil; lightly coat foil with cooking spray.
  2. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, ¼ tsp. salt and garlic powder. Arrange over prepared baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring halfway during cooking. When potatoes are done, reduce oven to 375 degrees.
  3. While potatoes bake, place a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sausage, stirring to crumble, cooking 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove sausage from skillet to drain, reserving drippings in pan. Add onion to pan drippings. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until tender. Add spinach, cooking 1 minute or just until wilted.
  4. Combine eggs, milk, and remaining ¼ tsp. salt in a large bowl, whisking to combine. Add drained sausage, sweet potatoes, onions and spinach, and half of each cheese, stirring gently to combine. Lightly coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Pour egg mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until set in middle.

NUTRITION FACTS

Calories 232; total fat 13g (saturated fat 5g); cholesterol 240mg; sodium 536mg; total carbs 12g (dietary fiber 2g, total sugars 3g, added sugars 0g); protein 16g.

In this recipe, white potatoes are swapped for more nutrient-dense sweet potatoes. Roasting caramelizes the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes and ensures that they’re tender. Adding a  vegetable like spinach means fewer unhealthy carbs and gets in some leafy greens.

Overall, these three simple tricks lower unhealthy carbs and fat and increase vegetables to make your favorite comfort-food casseroles healthier. Better still, your family and friends may not even notice the small changes — and if they do, it’s probably because they like the new version better!

Source: Carolyn Williams, Rally Health. January 15, 2019

Benefits of Personal Yoga Training

Although our YMCA offers 50+ yoga classes free to members, some individuals may find personal yoga training more appealing. Private lessons are a one on one experience that can improve one’s mental and physical health and achieve personal yoga goals. Other benefits of Personal Yoga Training include:

  • Gaining initial experience – Beginning yoga students can sometimes feel overwhelmed in typical class settings. Personal training  can help learning poses, timing and breathing, and jumpstart flexibility.
  • Focusing on personal goals – A private lesson allows an individual to set specific goals and plans, such as personal goals for flexibility, strength or meditation.
  • Creating a personalized schedule – Making the time to practice is a vital element of yoga. If it’s not possible to get to one of our many classes, then a private lesson can accommodate even the most hectic of schedules.
  • Overcoming health concerns – Health conditions like pregnancy, diabetes or heart disease may require special alterations to one’s yoga practice. Personal yoga training addresses health conditions to avoid further complications.
  • Working on advanced practice – Private instruction can allow individuals to take their yoga practice to the next level. Specific yoga classes might not always offer the level of challenge and planning for advanced practitioners.

Contact Christen Mitchell to schedule your private lessons today.