For A Better Us

May 10, 2017

How one Fernandina Beach Child’s Love of Water Inspired His Entire Family to Learn to Swim

Camaron’s Story

McKinley and MoRonica Ravenell moved to Fernandina Beach from Mississippi with their oldest son Camaron 13 years ago. Now living in Florida, they realized how much Camaron loved water – no matter if he was in the pool or just the bathtub – he was always splashing. When he was 5 years old, his parents decided it was time for Camaron to learn how to swim so they took him to the McArthur Family YMCA.

“I never would’ve imagined that day would change our lives forever. We explained we were looking for private swim lessons. We needed someone who was very understanding with kids,” said MoRonica. “We explained to them that Camaron had Speech of Apraxia (speech delay). We needed a swim instructor who would make sure he understood the instructions and would give him visual prompts. When it comes to Camaron, I’m sheltering as McKinley calls it. I call it being a good mom. I wanted them to understand, but they did. They said ‘we know the right person for you’.”

The Ravenells met Michelle Stein, the McArthur Family YMCA swim team coach. She’s also a swim instructor and elementary school teacher. Within a week, Camaron was able to swim to the middle of the pool. “As I watched a tear began to fall. I was so happy he was happy. Just the smile on his face was priceless,” MoRonica explained. “Michelle would tell us he was born to swim. She said, ‘he will be a great swimmer. Watch and see’.”

Michelle was right. Camaron continued to improve and eventually earned a spot on the McArthur Sailfish swim team winning 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place ribbons at swim meets. He now competes with the McArthur Flyers and Special Olympics swim teams where he has won five medals including gold.

Camaron is also a champion at something else – talking his mom into taking swim lessons. “Michelle taught me how to swim two years ago. Camaron was there every day cheering me on saying ‘mom you can do it’ or ‘I believe in you’,” MoRonica said. “Now Camaron and I swim together and of course, he beats me in races. And I’m so happy to announce that Michelle is now teaching McKinley and his little brother Malik to swim, too and they are doing great.”

In addition to reducing their risk of drowning, children who take swim lessons and participate in the Y’s Safety Around Water program also become confident in and around the water so like Camaron, they too can feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from learning new skills.

With your help, the Y hopes to provide free swim instruction to 5,000 at-risk children on the First Coast. Please consider the following gift amounts: $60 to sponsor one child, $600 to sponsor 10 children or $1,200 to provide lessons to an entire classroom!

DONATE ONLINE

Read: Rotary Club of West Jacksonville’s Generous Gift to Safety Around Water

Watch: Safety Around Water Instruction at Brooks Family YMCA

Camaron’s Story McKinley and MoRonica Ravenell moved to Fernandina Beach from Mississippi with their oldest son Camaron 13 years ago. Now living in Florida, they realized how much Camaron loved water – no matter if he was in the pool or just the bathtub – he was always splashing. When he was 5 years old, his parents decided it was time for Camaron to learn how to swim so they took him to the McArthur Family YMCA. “I never would’ve imagined that day would change our lives forever. We explained we were looking for private swim lessons. We needed someone who was very understanding with kids,” said MoRonica. “We explained to them that Camaron had Speech of Apraxia (speech delay). We needed a swim instructor who would make sure he understood the instructions and would give him visual prompts. When it comes to Camaron, I’m sheltering as McKinley calls it. I call it being a…


April 24, 2017

Together, We Can Keep Kids Safe

Child sexual abuse is one of the most prevalent, most hidden risks that kids in our communities face.

1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before they turn 18 in the US, and still too few people know about the extent of this problem, and what all of us can do to keep kids safe.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and we invite you to join us to raise awareness about child sexual abuse prevention. The facts are shocking. But we can work together to prevent it.

WATCH: The Impact of Child Sex Abuse

Did You Know?

Adult Education is Key

The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast has partnered with other local organizations to create the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Coalition. Our goal is to train 50,000 adults through the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention training. It is the only nationally available program scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviors.

Appropriate for any adult, this training will teach you how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Training is available online and in a classroom setting.

Join us today in STOPPING child sexual abuse.

Child sexual abuse is one of the most prevalent, most hidden risks that kids in our communities face. 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before they turn 18 in the US, and still too few people know about the extent of this problem, and what all of us can do to keep kids safe. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and we invite you to join us to raise awareness about child sexual abuse prevention. The facts are shocking. But we can work together to prevent it. WATCH: The Impact of Child Sex Abuse Did You Know? Adult Education is Key The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast has partnered with other local organizations to create the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Coalition. Our goal is to train 50,000 adults through the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention training. It is the only nationally available program scientifically proven to increase knowledge,…


March 24, 2017

You Can’t Afford to Ignore This

In the United States alone, diabetes affects nearly 29 million people; another 86 million Americans have prediabetes, yet only about 10 percent are aware of it.

These statistics are alarming, and the impact on the cost of health care makes preventing the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes more important than ever before. Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed more often in adults, and type 1 diabetes is diagnosed more often in children, but the rates of type 2 diabetes are increasing rapidly for both adults and children.

In 2012 alone, the American Diabetes Association estimates that diabetes cost the health care system $245 billion.

The nation’s struggle with obesity and type 2 diabetes is no surprise but the number of people with prediabetes is a growing issue, especially when so few people realize they have the condition. Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.

Often preventable, people with prediabetes can reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by adopting behavior changes that include eating healthier and increasing physical activity. People with prediabetes are at risk for not only developing type 2 diabetes, but also cardiovascular disease, stroke and other conditions.

Tuesday, March 28, is American Diabetes Association (ADA) Alert Day®, and it’s important that you know your risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as preventive steps you can take today to reduce the chances of developing the disease.

As the leading community-based network committed to improving the nation’s health the First Coast YMCA encourages all adults to take a diabetes risk test. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include family history, age, weight and activity level, among others.

“Studies show that people with prediabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by making simple lifestyle changes that include eating healthier and increasing physical activity,” said Kristy Cook, Director of Healthy Living Innovations at the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “Steps taken now to prevent developing diabetes not only makes good health sense; it makes good economic sense.”

The First Coast YMCA is helping people make healthier choices that can help reduce the risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes with YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program classes in April and May.

Some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and an increased focus on healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

  • Reduce portion sizes of the foods you eat that may be high in fat or calories.
  • Keep a food diary to increase awareness of eating patterns and behaviors.
  • Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
  • Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
  • Incorporate more activity in your day, like taking the stairs or parking farther away from your destination.
  • Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history of the disease or are overweight.

Test Your Knowledge and Earn Y Rewards Points

In the United States alone, diabetes affects nearly 29 million people; another 86 million Americans have prediabetes, yet only about 10 percent are aware of it. These statistics are alarming, and the impact on the cost of health care makes preventing the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes more important than ever before. Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed more often in adults, and type 1 diabetes is diagnosed more often in children, but the rates of type 2 diabetes are increasing rapidly for both adults and children. In 2012 alone, the American Diabetes Association estimates that diabetes cost the health care system $245 billion. The nation’s struggle with obesity and type 2 diabetes is no surprise but the number of people with prediabetes is a growing issue, especially when so few people realize they have the condition. Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal,…


February 24, 2017

An Apple A Day…

March is National Nutrition Month. With a balanced approach, even the busiest families can discover ways to eat healthier and feel better. Here are some quick and easy recipes to try at home.

Apple Nachos

Total time: 10-15 mins
Serves 1-4

Ingredients:

Mix of apples (Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala) – 1 per serving
Sun butter or peanut butter
Coconut Flakes
Raisins

Directions:

Core and slice apples, lay out on plate
Heat nut butter until creamy, drizzle over apples
Let each person choose their own toppings to sprinkle on top

No-Cook Strawberry Applesauce

Total time: 10-15 mins
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

4 apples (suggested: Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, McIntosh)
10 strawberries

Directions:

Core and chop apples
Remove strawberry tops
Blend apples and strawberries together in food processor or blender
Serve cold

Cinnamon Applesauce

Total time: 20-30 mins
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

4 apples (suggested mix: Honey Crisp, Granny Smith)
1 cup of 100% apple juice or 100% apple cider (may substitute water)
1 tablespoon of Cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)

Directions:

Core and chop apples
Add apples, 100% juice and cinnamon to saucepan on medium heat (cover)
Allow apples to simmer and mash softened apples in saucepan or add to blender
Serve warm or cold

March is National Nutrition Month. With a balanced approach, even the busiest families can discover ways to eat healthier and feel better. Here are some quick and easy recipes to try at home. Apple Nachos Total time: 10-15 mins Serves 1-4 Ingredients: Mix of apples (Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala) – 1 per serving Sun butter or peanut butter Coconut Flakes Raisins Directions: Core and slice apples, lay out on plate Heat nut butter until creamy, drizzle over apples Let each person choose their own toppings to sprinkle on top No-Cook Strawberry Applesauce Total time: 10-15 mins Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 4 apples (suggested: Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, McIntosh) 10 strawberries Directions: Core and chop apples Remove strawberry tops Blend apples and strawberries together in food processor or blender Serve cold Cinnamon Applesauce Total time: 20-30 mins Serves: 4-6 Ingredients: 4 apples (suggested mix: Honey Crisp, Granny Smith) 1 cup of 100% apple…


January 31, 2017

A Treat for YOUR Heart

Give your own heart a treat in February with two simple ways to prevent heart disease: monitoring your blood pressure and reducing sodium intake.

HighBloodPressure

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the nation’s number one killer. High blood pressure is most prevalent in minority communities, and is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.

Research shows that the simple process of checking and recording your blood pressure at least twice a month over a four month period, along with regular physical activity, proper nutrition and reducing sodium intake, may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.

The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast is now offering a Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring program that helps adults with hypertension lower and manage their blood pressure. The program focuses on regular monitoring of one’s blood pressure at home using proper measuring techniques, individualized support and nutrition education in an effort to reduce blood pressure and improve their quality of life. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) seminars are also part of the program. These seminars will highlight the importance of practicing healthy eating habits. Participants of the Blood Pressure Self- Monitoring Program to measure their blood pressure with coaching for proper measuring techniques from a trained Healthy Heart Ambassador.

WATCH: News4Jax’s Melanie Lawson Reports on YMCA Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program

For more information on the program, call 904-265-1810 or email prevention@firstcoastymca.org.
Besides monitoring your blood pressure, reducing sodium intake is a great way to keep your heart healthy. According to the American Heart Association, too much sodium in your system puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. In some people, this may lead to or raise high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Having less sodium in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure.

“There are many factors in keeping your heart healthy and having a handle on your blood pressure is an effective tool in the preventing heart disease,” says Lisa Peacock, Director of Healthy Living Innovations: Chronic Disease Prevention, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “Whether you have high blood pressure or are at risk for heart disease, the Y has many options available that can help.”

In addition to programs and services offered in Northeast Florida, the Y offers the following tips from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help reduce sodium in your diet.

  1. Think fresh: Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed foods. Eat highly processed foods less often and in smaller portions—especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli/luncheon meats; and ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, ravioli and soups. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.
  2. Enjoy home-prepared foods: Cook more often at home—where you are in control of what’s in your food. Preparing your own foods allows you to limit the amount of salt in them.
  3. Fill up on veggies and fruits—they are naturally low in sodium: Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits—fresh or frozen. Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal.
  4. Adjust your taste buds: Cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your taste for salt will lessen over time. Additionally, keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table and substitute spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice to season foods.
  5. Boost your potassium intake: Choose foods with potassium, which may help to lower your blood pressure. Potassium is found in vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, beet greens, tomato juice and sauce, sweet potatoes, beans (white, lima, kidney), and bananas. Other sources of potassium include yogurt, clams, halibut, orange juice and milk.

Give your own heart a treat in February with two simple ways to prevent heart disease: monitoring your blood pressure and reducing sodium intake. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the nation’s number one killer. High blood pressure is most prevalent in minority communities, and is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms. Research shows that the simple process of checking and recording your blood pressure at least twice a month over a four month period, along with regular physical activity, proper nutrition and reducing sodium intake, may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast is now offering a Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring program that helps adults with hypertension lower and manage their blood pressure. The program focuses on regular monitoring of one’s blood pressure at home using proper measuring techniques, individualized support…


January 23, 2017

“I Feel Like I’m at a Party with 50 of My Closest Friends”

Letter submitted by Marsha Brown, Brooks Family YMCA member

Dear Mr. [Carl] Simcox:

For almost a year, it has been my family’s good fortune to be an active member of the Brooks Family YMCA. Glenn and I had relocated to Jacksonville and were researching various places to work out when we were referred to the Brooks Family YMCA by an employee at The Mayo Clinic. We immediately joined on the spot, as a result of the friendly and professional greeting and tour from the front desk staff. Additionally, the numerous group exercise schedule offered every day and the vast selection of times sealed the deal.

All of my life, I have been a person who loves exercise classes, and have taken many of the classes offered at the Brooks Family YMCA. I have been impressed by quite a few of the instructors. However, there is one person who stands out from all the rest. Her name is Helenjoy Ojastro, and she teaches a class called Body Jam on Saturday and Thursday night.

Group Exercise fun at the Brooks Family YMCA

Group exercise fun at the Brooks Family YMCA. Helenjoy is sitting in the front row, second from left.

What makes Helenjoy Ojastro so outstanding are her enthusiasm, work ethic, and patience with everyone, including the disabled.   The energy she brings to every workout is contagious. Even if I come to the class tired, watching Helenjoy give everything she’s got into the workout changes my whole attitude and before I know it, I’m working out harder and most importantly having a wonderful time. Helenjoy makes Body Jam so much fun and that is the key ingredient to people coming back. I feel like I’m at a party with a bunch of my 50 closest friends, because most everyone is laughing out loud, shouting, clapping, and having a joyful time together.

I am very sensitive to the Down Syndrome members of our community. There is a young man who comes to Helenjoy’s Body Jam class and works out directly in front of the stage. Helenjoy always has time for him and is so kind, patient, and understanding. What a gift she is to all of us.

I have observed that Helenjoy embodies the Christian values that the YMCA projects nationwide. After the class is completed, she has time for everyone who wants to speak to her.

Mr. Simcox, I wanted to take the time to make you aware of this exceptional young woman in your organization from a member’s prospective, and what she has so graciously contributed to your team. I would attend any and all classes that she teaches in the future. In my estimation, Helenjoy has a following of members who feel the same way that I do about her. I know this, because they are there all the time as I am. I do hope that you share this letter with her and solicit her input and perspective on what other talents and insights she can offer the Brooks Family YMCA!

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read my letter. Should you have any questions or would like to speak to me directly; I am available at your convenience.

Lastly, thank you for the secret Santa Christmas tree. My husband and I really enjoyed purchasing a bunch of gifts for the two youngsters that we selected.   This is the true meaning of Christmas.

May you and your family have a healthy New Year full of laughter and goodness.

Best wishes,

Marsha Brown

 

*Carl Simcox is the Executive Director of the Brooks Family YMCA.

Letter submitted by Marsha Brown, Brooks Family YMCA member Dear Mr. [Carl] Simcox: For almost a year, it has been my family’s good fortune to be an active member of the Brooks Family YMCA. Glenn and I had relocated to Jacksonville and were researching various places to work out when we were referred to the Brooks Family YMCA by an employee at The Mayo Clinic. We immediately joined on the spot, as a result of the friendly and professional greeting and tour from the front desk staff. Additionally, the numerous group exercise schedule offered every day and the vast selection of times sealed the deal. All of my life, I have been a person who loves exercise classes, and have taken many of the classes offered at the Brooks Family YMCA. I have been impressed by quite a few of the instructors. However, there is one person who stands out from all the rest. Her…


January 17, 2017

Top 5 Benefits of Having a Workout Partner

Roughly 36% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by week 3. Don’t be one of them! While choosing a resolution is easy, sticking to it can be impossible. Having a workout partner may be just the thing you need to keep you going. Here are the top 5 benefits of exercising with a friend:

 

1. Accountability

Arguably the most worthwhile reason to have a workout partner is accountability. Workout partners hold each other responsible for going to the gym because they keep each other on track and always reaching for their goals. If both go regularly, they will know whether a workout has been missed.

2. Sharing goals and progress

A workout buddy offers companionship, but also creates a competition that can be extremely helpful when someone needs to push through that extra mile or squat. They also give each other someone to celebrate milestones with. Both members can go out to dinner and feel comfortable getting healthy meals without giving in to temptation.

3. Validation

Many people who are trying to lose weight get discouraged because of the rough weeks where weight doesn’t come off. Workout partners can see each other’s progress from the outside and provide motivation, positive feedback and constructive criticism.

2014-06-19_AOF_4533_RGB4. It’s fun!

Workout partners provide a sense of reliability and help transform the gym into something more desirable – an active social gathering. For example, busy mothers would benefit from having someone else who is going through similar life changes. They can provide motivation and support, and it also gives them a chance to socialize away from the family.

5. It Saves You Money

Because we know how beneficial it is to have a workout partner, we reward you when you refer a family or friend to the Y. You can save up to 40% off your membership with our YMCA member referral program. 

Roughly 36% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by week 3. Don’t be one of them! While choosing a resolution is easy, sticking to it can be impossible. Having a workout partner may be just the thing you need to keep you going. Here are the top 5 benefits of exercising with a friend:   1. Accountability Arguably the most worthwhile reason to have a workout partner is accountability. Workout partners hold each other responsible for going to the gym because they keep each other on track and always reaching for their goals. If both go regularly, they will know whether a workout has been missed. 2. Sharing goals and progress A workout buddy offers companionship, but also creates a competition that can be extremely helpful when someone needs to push through that extra mile or squat. They also give each other someone to celebrate milestones with. Both members can go out…


January 4, 2017

Robotics Program Launching at Brooks Family YMCA

In an effort to engage more children in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities, the Brooks Family YMCA officially announced a new engineering program—Robotics. The program is set to debut on Jan. 17 with free classes open to YMCA members and their children ages 6 to 14.

This program is part of the Y’s effort to create more experiences for children to explore opportunities through STEM that nurture their curiosity, inspire their creativity, help them develop critical-thinking skills and teach them how to succeed.

Two classes included in the program are the Junior First Lego League for children who are 6 to 9 years old and the First Lego League for those who are 10 to 14 years old. Classes will also be available to non-members with a $75 monthly fee.

Rajiv Gupta, former software developer with the City of Jacksonville and a First Coast resident since 2000, was recently named instructor of the robotics program.

“We are proud to have Rajiv Gupta lead our engineering and robotics program here at the Brooks Y,” said Brooks Family YMCA Executive Director Carl Simcox. “The Y aims to help all children reach their full potential by supporting their unique youth development journeys and we’re excited to see this new STEM initiative in action.”

Through a grant provided by the University of North Florida, Gupta has volunteered each weekend since 2008 with elementary and middle-age students, teaching the basics and fundamentals of science and engineering through a robotics curriculum. After nearly eight years of volunteering, Gupta will continue to dedicate his time and services as a proud employee of the YMCA.

“I want to inspire kids to become interested in science and technology through robotics,” Gupta said. “My philosophy—make science easy—motivates me to help our youth discover the fun and impact of this subject.”

With 11 years of robotics teaching experience, Gupta earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Jai Narain Vyas University in Rajasthan, India and an MBA from the University of Rajasthan. Gupta currently works for Landstar, a company that specializes in logistics and supply chain solutions.

To enroll your child in the Brooks Family YMCA Robotics program, please visit the Welcome Center or contact Deb Barley at dbarley@firstcoastymca.org. For more information about the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast, visit FirstCoastYMCA.org.

In an effort to engage more children in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities, the Brooks Family YMCA officially announced a new engineering program—Robotics. The program is set to debut on Jan. 17 with free classes open to YMCA members and their children ages 6 to 14. This program is part of the Y’s effort to create more experiences for children to explore opportunities through STEM that nurture their curiosity, inspire their creativity, help them develop critical-thinking skills and teach them how to succeed. Two classes included in the program are the Junior First Lego League for children who are 6 to 9 years old and the First Lego League for those who are 10 to 14 years old. Classes will also be available to non-members with a $75 monthly fee. Rajiv Gupta, former software developer with the City of Jacksonville and a First Coast resident since 2000, was recently named instructor of the…


December 22, 2016

SEEDifferently: Grilled Salmon with Herb Crust

Through our SEEDifferently™ initiative, we hope to inspire communities to grow their own food and see the untapped potential in all spaces. You can use fresh herbs grown at home to prepare this fresh and flavorful meal!

Serves 4 | Prep: 15 min. | Grill: 6 min

Ingredients

  • 12 oz fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillets, about ¾ inch thick
  • 1/3 cup coarsely snipped fresh oregano
  • 1/3 cup coarsely snipped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Preparation

  • Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Cut into four 3-ounce pieces; set aside.
  • In a food processor bowl combine oregano, cilantro, green onions, lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and process until chopped. Transfer to a shallow dish.
  • Generously coat both sides of fish with herb mixture.
  • Place fish on the greased rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 6-9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, turning once halfway through grilling.

Nutrition
Calories: 126
Fat: 5g (1g saturated fat)
Carbohydrate: 2g
Protein: 17g
Cholesterol: 44 mg
Sodium: 207mg

Photo and recipe courtesy: www.bhg.com

Learn more about growing your own food through the SEEDifferently initiative. Contact Kristy Cook by email at kcook@firstcoastymca.org.

Through our SEEDifferently™ initiative, we hope to inspire communities to grow their own food and see the untapped potential in all spaces. You can use fresh herbs grown at home to prepare this fresh and flavorful meal! Serves 4 | Prep: 15 min. | Grill: 6 min Ingredients 12 oz fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillets, about ¾ inch thick 1/3 cup coarsely snipped fresh oregano 1/3 cup coarsely snipped fresh cilantro ¼ cup sliced green onions 1 Tbsp lemon juice 2 tsp olive oil ½ tsp minced garlic (1 clove) ¼ tsp salt 1/8 tsp pepper Preparation Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Cut into four 3-ounce pieces; set aside. In a food processor bowl combine oregano, cilantro, green onions, lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and process until chopped. Transfer to a shallow dish. Generously coat both sides of fish with herb mixture. Place fish on…


December 15, 2016

Reframing New Year’s Resolutions For Success

As you change your calendar from December to January, there’s always a thrill in the promise of a New Year that’s full of potential. The New Year is a chance to start fresh and say goodbye to any of the previous frustrations—a perfect opportunity to make resolutions that will help strengthen your spirit, mind and body.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Many of us find our resolutions thrown out along with the holiday decorations. It’s no wonder—starting the New Year by making declarations that we’re going on a drastic diet or will hit the gym every day doesn’t exactly set us up for success!

While choosing a resolution is easy, sticking to it can be impossible. A 2014 YMCA survey found that less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolutions. Many (71 percent) tried, but fell short of their goals, while 40 percent confessed that they gave up within the first few months, even weeks, of the New Year!

By reframing resolutions in a positive way and breaking them down into smaller, easy-to-sustain goals, you’ll see big benefits in the long run. For example, you may want to limit your screen time in 2017, but that can be more manageable if you replace it with something positive like volunteering or setting special time aside for family.

“Try not to think about what you’re missing, but rather what you’re gaining. This can make a resolution feel more positive, and therefore more achievable,” says Tim Burrows, Member Experience Director at the Winston Family YMCA in Riverside.

It’s important to not let yourself get discouraged by setbacks. Even though you may experience some missteps throughout the day—or even the week—that doesn’t mean you have to give up. Tim says, “Nobody got their bad habits over the course of a week, so you’re not going to change them in a week either!”

As a community-serving organization here on the First Coast, the Y knows making lifestyle changes and helping others will impact your life and someone else’s life for the better.

Here are 8 simple ways to help your 2017 New Year’s resolutions stick:

  1. Start small. Break those big resolutions into small, achievable goals. Instead of cutting chocolate out of your diet for good, vow to only have it a few times a week. Or trade your two sodas a day for one soda and a glass of water.
  2. Take it one step at a time. Trying to change too many habits at once can easily lead to frustration. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, make a New Month’s Resolution. Focus on that one change for the month, and add another small change when the new month rolls around.
  3. Move more. It’s important for adults to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day (60 minutes for children). Incorporate physical activity into your daily routines and spend more time walking to places instead of driving to improve your health and well-being.
  4. Choose a facility that focuses on a holistic approach to health. When it comes to adding healthy behaviors, like increasing physical activity, it’s important to find a facility that keeps you motivated. Before committing to a membership, take a tour of local gyms to find the best fit for you. Your facility should not be just a gym, but a community organization that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity – like the Y! It’s easy to join. Get started today!
  5. Swap a soda a day. It’s difficult, but cutting soda can do wonders for your body. If you can’t cut it entirely, resolve to swap one soda a day for a large glass of water instead. Once you’ve been able to swap one out, see if you can cut soda entirely. The Y also has Registered Dietitians on staff with a full menu of nutrition services to help you achieve your weight loss and healthy eating goals.
  6. Talk it out. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you have a partner or friend working toward similar goals. Team up with someone to set your 2017 goals and help each other establish a game plan dedicated to achieving them. Set specific check-ins to help each other out of slumps and to cheer each other during the high points. Learn more about the Y’s member referral program where friends can receive up to 40% off the standard membership rate when they make a commitment to the Y and to each other!
  7. Make family time a priority. With work, school, and activities family time may seem like an impossible ask, but see if your family can have a “screen-free” night with no phones, video games, etc. Instead, use that time to play a board game, play outside or visit with family and friends.
  8. Volunteer. Giving back and supporting neighbors benefits everyone involved. Not only is it a personally rewarding experience to help others in need, but it’s also a way to meet new people or discover a new interest. Find an opportunity in your community, such as reading to children at a YMCA Reads! afterschool site or distributing food at a local food bank.

For additional tips or to learn more about how to stick to your resolutions or get involved with the First Coast YMCA, contact 904.265.1775 or visit your neighborhood YMCA.

As you change your calendar from December to January, there’s always a thrill in the promise of a New Year that’s full of potential. The New Year is a chance to start fresh and say goodbye to any of the previous frustrations—a perfect opportunity to make resolutions that will help strengthen your spirit, mind and body. Setting Yourself Up for Success Many of us find our resolutions thrown out along with the holiday decorations. It’s no wonder—starting the New Year by making declarations that we’re going on a drastic diet or will hit the gym every day doesn’t exactly set us up for success! While choosing a resolution is easy, sticking to it can be impossible. A 2014 YMCA survey found that less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolutions. Many (71 percent) tried, but fell short of their goals, while 40 percent confessed that they gave up within the first few months, even…


Mission Statement: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.