The Hampshire Regional YMCA has been helping the surrounding Northampton community since its inception in 1890. Like all Ys, we provide multiple pathways for members of different backgrounds and lifestyles to better themselves and positively impact the community through healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility. Regina Galasso is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at UMass Amherst and has been a member of our Y since August 2011. While she and her husband originally chose our Y for its ideal location, they’ve since taken advantage of many other programs we have to offer. Like countless members, Regina found support from the Y as a new mother. Their oldest daughter began swim classes when she was six months old and has since moved to private lessons. While she’s learning a healthy skill that will last her a lifetime, she’s also making happy memories and bonding with her parents at Family Swim.
“In addition, Child Watch has been wonderful to us. The staff is always pleasant. I have no idea how we would have kept as active once we became parents without Child Watch since we do not have any family in the area,” Regina says. For people in Regina’s situation it can be tough moving to a new area with no familiar faces. The Y acts as a second home and community center where every member of the family can get involved. While the kids are playing and developing socially in Child Watch, parents have a break to work on their own physical health, something that may get overlooked as a new parent.
In addition to this, the HRYMCA is a great place to meet other members and make friends, “We also love coming to the Y because we get to see some of our friends and their families at the facility.” The Y provides a sense of community, belonging, and support that gives our members the confidence and resources to live healthier, together. Again, social wellbeing is something new parents and members may neglect prioritizing in their lives. At our Y, fitness and social health don’t compete for your time, they go hand in hand. We believe in a holistic view of wellbeing – mind, body, and spirit need to be in a good place for overall healthy living, which is something that you don’t see in your average gym.
Because we’re a nonprofit, what’s good for you is also good for our community. The donations that come into the Y go directly into improving our mission and reach through financial aid for individual families, as well as funding programs like our Diabetes Prevention Program, and Youth and Government. We rely on the generosity of our community and members to continue providing the services that help them.
Without the Y, being a new parent would be more challenging, getting healthier would feel a lot lonelier, and available youth programs would not be as impactful. We make sure that every member of our community is afforded the same opportunities for improvement regardless of their financial situation, and provide a communal meeting space for those needing a friend, or someone to listen. Today, Regina’s daughter loves visiting our indoor playground when the weather outside isn’t the best; she refines her motor development skills while having fun and doing what kids do best - playing. Regina says that she’s looking forward to starting the process all over again with her second daughter, who was born last year.