Veterans Can Get Assistance from a Surprising Source: the YMCA
The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis has upped its commitment to veterans, service members and their families with reduced memberships and new programs focused on wellness and reintegration this year and will celebrate and honor veterans with several Veterans Day events.
A year of new veterans programs
Veterans tend to suffer from certain health issues—chronic pain, obesity and PTSD—at disproportionally higher rates than the civilian population. For instance, in Marion County, 42 percent of veterans are obese and 28 percent are diagnosed diabetics.
The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis works with businesses and community organizations to support veterans and active military, get them involved in classes and programs that can address these disparities and connect them to other local service providers.
YMCA veterans programs launched this year:
- January – Began offering 20 percent off the standard membership rate for military at all of its centers. The U.S. Department of Defense already provides free YMCA memberships to qualifying active duty service men and women.
- April – The Benjamin Harrison YMCA conducted a Job Fair, held a Financial Literacy Breakfast for veterans and arranged regular Y visits for nearby VA Homeless Dom residents.
- June – Broke ground on the new OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA in Pike Township that will include a VA Health Center, a first-of-its-kind partnership in the country. Individuals can sponsor a veteran on the outdoor Salute Memorial for $100.
- July – Announced year-long Diabetes Prevention Program at no cost to veterans with a grant from Disabled Veterans National Foundation. Four veterans have graduated from the Pike YMCA program. New fall classes just began at Pike YMCA and HRH YMCA.
- September – Veterans share their experiences with YMCA children in a new Pike YMCA VetZone program.
- Fall – Partnered with Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana to offer adaptive clinics in Self Defense, Pickleball and Fencing (open to all).
More programs in the works
The YMCA will continue these programs and is planning new ones to expand their impact in 2018:
- Introduce new Wellness programs, such as Yoga for Vets, and more Adaptive Sports Clinics with RHI, such as lacrosse.
- Develop classes with the Indiana National Guard designed to prepare recruits, active military and first responders for duty-readiness and to meet fitness standards.
- December 2018 – The OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA will open in Pike Township and will include a veterans clinic and therapy treatment rooms among other services.
At A Glance
• 110,000 veterans live in the Indianapolis area
• 14,000 National Guard throughout Indiana
• 1,000 homeless or near homeless vets in Indianapolis
• In 2017, more than 900 veterans become new YMCA members