Fall always has been my favorite time of year. It’s a combination of many things, including the weather, the colors on the trees, the harvest and more.
In 2014, I added one more reason to that list. It was in October of that year that renovations began at the YMCA’s first facility in downtown Morris. And it marked the beginning of our partnership with Morris Hospital.
Since then, we have welcomed thousands of area residents through our doors. We are currently serving more than 2,300 members who have visited our branch more than 97,000 times. This unique collaboration between the Y and the hospital has provided opportunities for each organization that have helped us to be stronger for our community.
One program that is a testament to this partnership is our referral program. Since 2015, patients from the hospital’s cardiac rehab and physical therapy departments have been given the opportunity to receive a referral for a free trial membership to the Y once they have completed their course of treatment.
Since its inception, more than 70 patients have benefited from the program, which is designed to help them maintain a level of health and wellness after an injury or diagnosis.
Based on the success of that effort, the Prescription for Fitness program was launched in July of this year. The Prescription for Fitness program enables hospital physicians to write a 30-day prescription to the Y. In contrast to the referral program designed for patients who are recovering from a health incident, the effort focuses on prevention.
Patients who have a family history of chronic disease or present with pre-condition symptoms can receive a prescription to help them build healthy habits that will help to combat the illness. In both cases, patients who are referred to the YMCA are welcomed into a supportive environment and given individual attention by our Health & Wellness director, who facilitates both programs.
In addition to these efforts, the Y and the hospital continue to collaborate on many other programs and initiatives to serve the community, including senior fitness classes, wellness challenges for members, and lunch and learn presentations to local companies. We even have time to have fun together by supporting each other’s events in the community.
From noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 22, you’ll see several departments from Morris Hospital out in full force (and costume) at the YMCA’s second annual “trunk or treat,” which is part of our Halloween Spooktacular. This festive event is open to everyone in the community and promises to provide fun games and activities for every member of your family.
Looking back over the past two years, it’s humbling to think about the impact this partnership has had on individuals living in our community. Together, we’ve witnessed the success of programs that have helped to improve people’s health and well-being, celebrated our favorite holidays, and we continue to research opportunities to introduce more and more collaborative programs in the months and years to come. To learn more about our collective efforts, stop by the YMCA in downtown Morris or visit www.jolietymca.org.
As a reminder, our fall membership sale is scheduled for Oct. 14 to 17, so now is a great time to join the YMCA! Just think, if you take your first step toward a healthy lifestyle this month, you will be able to reflect back a year from now on another reason why fall is one of your favorite times of year.
• Missy Durkin is the executive director for the Morris branch of the Greater Joliet Area YMCA. Community Pulse is a weekly column that provides a dedicated space for Grundy County-area nonprofits, schools, organizations and sometimes Morris Herald-News staff to share news and information about their organization.