For A Better Us

August 16, 2018

Taking Control

Norma had already lost her mother and brother to type 2 diabetes, so when she got an alarming diagnosis from her doctor, she knew she had to do whatever she could to keep her health from getting worse.

After struggling with weight all her life, Norma Davis learned this past year that she was pre-diabetic. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. The condition often leads to type 2 diabetes, unless steps are taken to prevent it.

“When the doctor told me I was border diabetic, that was a red flag,” Norma said. “It got scary so I said ‘NO, I can’t do this. I have grand-babies and a husband.’ It can cut my life span, it can keep me from being mobile, it can cause me blindness and amputation. I really just put a foot forward and told myself that I was going to get through this.”

The First Step

That’s when Norma joined the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program at the Johnson Family YMCA. The program, which is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program, is geared towards helping those who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, or believe they may be at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This program is designed to help people adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle changes over the course of one year.

Developing Healthy Habits

Norma says the program has helped her meet her goals and also provided the comfort and support she needs to keep fighting for her health. “Everything is coordinated as far as having support. Even the mentality alone, you get the fortitude to say ‘I am going to make it, I am going to do this’, once I changed my lifestyle, I felt good- mentally and physically,” said Norma.

Meeting Goals

The goals of the program are to reduce body weight by 7 percent and increase physical activity to 150 minutes per week. Norma has lost more than 25 pounds since she started the program. She says that the program’s group setting helped her maintain her motivation and inspiration thanks to the support it provides.

Staying On Track

“It helps when you can get together and hear about everyone’s achievements and the goals they have met, it keeps you motivated to meet your own goals,” Norma said. I would have never thought that just a group and positivity would put me in a path that would get me to where I am today.”

Norma Davis took control of her pre-diabetes and she says she will keep taking control for the rest of her life. Her goal is to motivate others that are going through similar struggles with the message that “you can choose to live healthy and be healthy.”

Lisa Peacock, Director of Healthy Living Innovations: Chronic Disease Prevention, is currently planning fall sessions of the Diabetes Prevention Program. Contact her at 904.265.1810 or lpeacock@fcymca.org for more information.

To qualify for the Diabetes Prevention Program, participants must be 18 or older, overweight/obese (having Body Mass Index greater than 25) and at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, or have been diagnosed with prediabetes.

Watch Norma’s story and learn more about the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

Norma had already lost her mother and brother to type 2 diabetes, so when she got an alarming diagnosis from her doctor, she knew she had to do whatever she could to keep her health from getting worse. After struggling with weight all her life, Norma Davis learned this past…


March 20, 2018

My Y Story | Ethan Hawke

Everyone loves to play basketball at the Y, including long-time Y member Ethan Hawke, but there are plenty of other programs to try at the Y. Watch Ethan try something new.

Everyone loves to play basketball at the Y, including long-time Y member Ethan Hawke, but there are plenty of other programs to try at the Y. Watch Ethan try something new.


March 6, 2018

My Y Story | Marcus Samuelsson

As a volunteer at the Harlem YMCA in New York, Marcus Samuelsson gives back to his community by teaching kids how to cook and then sharing a meal with their parents.

As a volunteer at the Harlem YMCA in New York, Marcus Samuelsson gives back to his community by teaching kids how to cook and then sharing a meal with their parents.


March 3, 2018

Celebrate Life 5K

Murphy Nmezi wins first place in the 13th running of the Johnson Family YMCA Celebrate Life 5K. The annual events brings the community together for a day of fellowship, health fair, fun and the opportunity to get fit together.

Murphy Nmezi wins first place in the 13th running of the Johnson Family YMCA Celebrate Life 5K. The annual events brings the community together for a day of fellowship, health fair, fun and the opportunity to get fit together.


March 2, 2018

Ray of Hope

Raymond McFarlane came to the Winston Family YMCA after he nearly died in a car crash. Doctors told him he may need a wheelchair for the rest of his life, but through our Adaptive Wellness partnership with Brooks Rehabilitation, Raymond is proving them wrong.

Raymond McFarlane came to the Winston Family YMCA after he nearly died in a car crash. Doctors told him he may need a wheelchair for the rest of his life, but through our Adaptive Wellness partnership with Brooks Rehabilitation, Raymond is proving them wrong.


February 20, 2018

My Y Story | Allyson Felix

Using her running career to pique their interest in STEM, Olympic gold medalist and Y youth participant Allyson Felix leads a hands-on experiment with Y kids from the Crenshaw Family YMCA in Los Angeles, CA.

Using her running career to pique their interest in STEM, Olympic gold medalist and Y youth participant Allyson Felix leads a hands-on experiment with Y kids from the Crenshaw Family YMCA in Los Angeles, CA.


December 18, 2017

You Shop, Amazon Gives

Give and Give Some More with Amazon Smile

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast every time you shop, at no extra cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com. On your first visit, you’ll be asked to select a charity. Please enter YMCA of Florida’s First Coast in the search field. That’s all there is to it! Now a percent of every eligible purchase will go to help our YMCA programs. Thank you!

Which products on AmazonSmile are eligible?

Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages.

Can I use my existing Amazon.com account on AmazonSmile?

Yes, you use the same account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

Give and Give Some More with Amazon Smile AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast every time you shop, at no extra cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and…


November 2, 2017

Questions to Ask Kids at the Thanksgiving Table

The holidays are a time for gathering and bonding—often over food! These moments can serve as opportunities to nurture a child’s development together as a family. From offering nutritious meal options to provoking thoughtful conversation, any adults who spend Thanksgiving with children can easily inspire healthy choices and deeper gratitude.

Here are three simple questions to get kids reflecting and sharing:

1. If you could do something to cheer up a group of kids less fortunate than you, what would you do? Why?

2. Can you think of two things you own that you would be willing to give to a child your age who is not going to get any gifts this holiday?

3. Can you think of three things we could do to make meals together more interesting and fun for everyone in the family?

Download a list of more questions for year-round conversation.

The holidays are a time for gathering and bonding—often over food! These moments can serve as opportunities to nurture a child’s development together as a family. From offering nutritious meal options to provoking thoughtful conversation, any adults who spend Thanksgiving with children can easily inspire healthy choices and deeper gratitude….


September 26, 2017

Bringing “Us” Together

For more than 160 years, the Y has been a place that brings communities together. Here on the First Coast, we have been committed to uniting, supporting and celebrating individuals and families for nearly 110 years.

We’re excited to share with you a new short film produced by YMCA of the USA that showcases the Y’s work as a vital nonprofit that makes a difference in 10,000 communities across the nation.



At our core, the Y is about helping individuals reach their full potential, and giving them opportunities to connect with their neighbors, all in service of making us better as individuals, communities and as a nation.

We are in this together.

Thank you for helping us make the First Coast stronger.

For more than 160 years, the Y has been a place that brings communities together. Here on the First Coast, we have been committed to uniting, supporting and celebrating individuals and families for nearly 110 years. We’re excited to share with you a new short film produced by YMCA of…


September 15, 2017

A Celebration of Our Communities

First Coast YMCA Joins Welcoming America & Hundreds of Communities to Celebrate New Americans During Welcoming Week

This Welcoming Week, taking place Sept. 15–24, 2017, the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast will join Welcoming America and hundreds of YMCAs and other organizations nationwide to celebrate immigrants’ contributions to communities and bring together all residents in a spirit of unity.

During Welcoming Week, all First Coast YMCAs will be open to the entire community.

“We believe the First Coast is stronger when everyone feels welcome and we can all work together for the common good,” said Eric K. Mann, President & CEO, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “Welcoming Week is an opportunity for neighbors – both immigrants and U.S.-born residents – to connect, find common ground and celebrate our shared values – all for a better us.”

The Y has a long history of welcoming and engaging immigrants – from launching the nation’s first English as a Second Language class in 1856 to providing aid to thousands of new arrivals at Ellis and Angel Islands in the early 1900s.

We believed then as we do now, that offering our newest neighbors the support and care to thrive creates stronger, more connected communities for all. With more than 42 million foreign-born individuals living in the United States today, the Y is committed to strengthening community by fostering an environment that encourages successful immigrant integration and social cohesion.

Welcoming America is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that is leading the growing movement of inclusive communities nationwide. They provide partners and communities with the guidance, resources and support to foster a culture and policy environment that makes it possible for newcomers to feel valued and to fully participate alongside their neighbors in the social, civic, and economic fabric of their adopted hometowns. Learn more at https://www.welcomingamerica.org/.

First Coast YMCA Joins Welcoming America & Hundreds of Communities to Celebrate New Americans During Welcoming Week This Welcoming Week, taking place Sept. 15–24, 2017, the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast will join Welcoming America and hundreds of YMCAs and other organizations nationwide to celebrate immigrants’ contributions to communities and…


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