Press Release: June is National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

Toledo, OHIO – June marks National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia that impact over 55 million people worldwide. Recent studies have shown that physical activity plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of
cognitive decline, emphasizing the importance of staying active at any age.

At the YMCA of Greater Toledo, we are committed to promoting physical activity and overall wellness for our community members. Our dedicated Healthy Living Programs aim to enhance wellness, reduce the risk of disease, and support participants in reclaiming their health. In line with this commitment, we are excited to announce a new initiative designed to assist in Alzheimer’s prevention.

The YMCA of Greater Toledo is proud to introduce BrainSavers, an innovative Alzheimer’s prevention program that is both fun and engaging. This instructor-led program focuses on keeping participants sharp and resilient by emphasizing six essential pillars of a total brain and body healthy lifestyle:

1. Cognitive Fitness
2. Physical Fitness
3. Social Engagement
4. Stress Management
5. Healthful Nutrition
6. Quality Sleep

BrainSavers provides a holistic approach to brain health, incorporating activities and strategies designed to improve cognitive function and overall well-being. 

To participate in BrainSavers, individuals must be members of the YMCA of Greater Toledo. Membership provides access to a wide range of resources and support through our Healthy Living department. Interested members can enroll in the BrainSavers program by visiting our website and completing an online form under the Healthy Living section. Our team is ready to assist and guide you through the enrollment process, ensuring you have the support needed to embark on this journey towards better brain health.

Join us at the YMCA of Greater Toledo in promoting a healthier, more active lifestyle and take a proactive step in Alzheimer’s prevention. Together, we can make a difference in our community’s health and well-being. For more information about BrainSavers and other Healthy Living Programs, please visit our website at or contact our Healthy Living department.


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About the YMCA of Greater Toledo

The YMCA of Greater Toledo is dedicated to strengthening the community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. With a wide range of programs and services, we aim to empower individuals to lead healthier lives and foster connections within the community. For more information, visit

Upcoming Pickleball Tournaments

Get ready to paddle up and show off your skills because the Wayman Palmer YMCA is gearing up for its 1st Annual Juneteenth Pickleball Tournament on June 22!

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, there’s a level of competition for everyone with three categories: Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginner.

Registration is open now, with member teams priced at $30 and non-member teams at $50 per team. Plus, each team will receive a tournament t-shirt, and the winning team in each division will proudly take home a trophy.

But that’s not all! In addition to the Juneteenth tournament, pickleball enthusiasts can also set their sights on the YMCA Mid-East Regional Pickleball Tournament, happening from June 28 to June 30 in Berwyn, PA. This regional event promises fierce competition and the chance to compete for the prestigious title.

What’s more, 39 gold medal winners from the Mid-East Regional Tournament will score a special invitation to the highly anticipated 2025 US Open Pickleball Championships! With registration now open for the regional tournament, it’s time to mark your calendars and prepare for some intense matches.

Exciting news from Pickle4 also adds to the buzz surrounding pickleball competitions. With a switch to Pickleball Den software, the US Open lottery for 2025 will see a ten percent expansion, offering even more opportunities for players to secure their spot in pickleball history. And fear not, as the additional invites from Y-USA won’t affect the previously announced 350 slots, ensuring the largest lottery in US Open history in 2025.


So, whether you’re a seasoned pickleball pro or just starting out on the court, there’s never been a better time to get involved in the action-packed world of pickleball tournaments. Don’t miss out—register today and get ready to serve up some serious fun! 🥒🏓 #PickleballTournaments #YMCAEvents #ServeUpFun

Walk/Bike to School Day Activities Encourages Safer Routes for Biking and Walking in School Neighborhoods

YMCA of Greater Toledo Partners raising awareness for safe routes 
The Toledo Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, of Live Well Greater Toledo and the YMCA along with their partners including the Toledo Public School District (TPS), the City of Toledo Transportation Dept., Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and numerous other participating organizations will join students and families from Garfield Elementary, 1103 N. Ravine Pkwy., Toledo, OH   43605 on May 08, 2024 to raise the awareness of the need for safer routes for bicycling and walking to school.
Walk to School Day activities can better the health of students through physical activity, increase student attendance, better academic achievement, create community connectedness, and enhance the air quality around schools. Through a partnership between the Toledo Safe Routes to School program and the City of Toledo, routes most frequently used by students are being improved through infrastructure projects, such as; sidewalk installation, curb bump outs, pedestrian refuge islands, and countdown crosswalks.
On May 8, 2024, families with students from Garfield Elementary were encouraged to utilize a remote drop off location at a nearby park (see attached map). Parents of students who typically are bussed or driven to school can utilize the remote drop off as an alternative on this day. Adult volunteers from multiple organizations and the school district will walk the students to school along a route located on N. Ravine Pkwy. This event is supported by the ODOT Safe Routes to School program that provides funding for school districts to encourage students to walk or bike to school. These programs also allow students to practice pedestrian safety, get physical activity before school, reduce traffic congestion around schools, and create healthy habits to last a lifetime. Multiple schools throughout the district will be celebrating National Walk and Bike to School Day on May 8th .  
This program is being organized by the Toledo SRTS program, and made possible by funding provided through the ODOT Safe Routes to School Grant. The YMCA was awarded a two year rolling grant for $114,280.00 to continue SRTS education and encouragement programs in the TPS District and to update the current district School Travel Plan (STP) that will identify the infrastructure and non-infrastructure barriers students encounter daily that make it difficult to walk or bicycle to and from school safely and comfortably. The STP update will study the neighborhoods of all 41 K-8 elementary buildings and the high school buildings. The YMCA has been providing non-infrastructure programs such as walk and roll to school days, bicycle fix-it and safety days, walking school buses, and much more in the TPS district since 2014.   
 Available for interviews the day of the event
Jenny Hansen, YMCA of Greater Toledo, SRTS Coordinator 
Stephanie Bartlett, City of Toledo Transportation Dept.   

Mental Health Community Care at the Y

Mental Health Community Care at the Y

The YMCA of Greater Toledo is always encouraging community members to care for themselves and others.

Mental health is how we think, feel and act. At the Y, we recognize that we all have mental health, and mental health is an important part of our overall health and social-emotional well-being, as well as a core component of our identity.

The Y supports the mental health of individuals and communities in all the work we do to help people reach their full potential—whether that’s teaching life skills to youth in our summer camps, supporting our staff, helping people achieve their best physical health or helping newcomer immigrants access services. This type of non-clinical support is called “community care” and includes:

· Understanding mental health as something we all have—it is how we think, feel, and act.

· Applying positive self-care practices routinely.

· Engaging in conversations in a genuine way, with empathy and the intent of building meaningful relationships.

· Understanding and applying trauma-informed guiding principles when interacting with others.

· Understanding the impact of social determinants of health, systemic racism, discrimination and marginalization on mental health.

· Modeling emotion regulation, co-regulation, and effective coping skills.

· Recognizing signs that someone may be struggling.

· Connecting individuals to primary and specialty support when needed.

· Providing initial response in crisis situations.

· Initiating dialogue and collaborating with others to embed mental health informal care support throughout the community.

All the above are informed by practices found in social-emotional learning, trauma-informed care and suicide prevention. Through this work, we can reduce the risk and impact of mental illness, provide early intervention, and support the process of healing and recovery. We also provide a critical bridge to formal mental health care providers when needed.


Everyone can play a role in mental health community care. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Y encourages you to identify simple ways you can care for yourself and others, such as:


· Using your powers of observation to notice when someone may be struggling with a hard day, moment or situation.

· Intentionally asking “how are you?” and encouraging honest answers so others can share and feel heard.

· Bringing empathy, compassion and kindness to your daily interactions.

· When you notice someone struggling, connecting them to mental health resources like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255 or

Smart Start to the New Year

At the start of every year, many people make resolutions to improve their fitness and overall health. However, as the year progresses, the majority of these resolutions fall by the wayside. Why is it so hard to follow through with fitness plans? Here are 10 reasons why people typically don’t follow through with their New Year’s Resolution fitness plans:

  1. Unrealistic goals: It’s important to set achievable and measurable goals that are realistic for your fitness level.

  2. Lack of motivation: Lack of motivation can also derail progress. Finding an activity or workout routine that you enjoy can help keep you motivated.

  3. No accountability: Joining a fitness group or hiring a personal trainer can help keep you accountable.

  4. Overtraining or injury: It’s important to listen to your body and take rest days when needed.

  5. Boredom with routine: Mixing up your workouts or trying new activities can help keep things fresh and exciting.

  6. Time constraints: Finding ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine

  7. Lack of support from family and friends: seeking support from like-minded individuals can help.

  8. Financial constraints: affordable options available such as outdoor activities or at-home workouts. The YMCA also offers financial assistance

  9. Poor nutrition: Eating a balanced diet and fueling your body properly can help improve fitness levels.

  10. No clear plan or guidance: Seeking guidance from a professional or researching workout plans can help set you on the right path toward achieving your fitness goals.

It is important to note that all of these reasons are valid and can be difficult to overcome alone. This is where the YMCA Smart Start program comes in.

This free program pairs Y members with a trained wellness coach who will work with them to set SMART goals and determine the best path for them. The program creates a stress-free environment where members can share openly with staff. Each thirty-minute appointment consists of a 1 on 1 conversation about the member, instructions on basic workouts or fitness equipment, and an introduction to the FREE Ask the Registered Dietitian program.

At the end of each session, staff will advise members on their suggested next step, which could include a referral to a group exercise class, a FREE personal training or MX4 interval training demo, referral to a chronic disease prevention or management program, a FREE Fitness 101 session, a referral to an aquatics-based program such as group fitness or swim lessons, or a FREE second or third Smart Start Appointment.


No matter the reason behind the decision to improve fitness and overall health, the YMCA Smart Start program will help identify the reasons and determine the best path. The program offers accountability, support, guidance, and the opportunity to work with a partner in the fitness and wellness journey. Studies show that only 30% of those who set out on a fitness or wellness journey alone achieve their goal. However, 70% of those who work with a partner achieve success. Let the YMCA Smart Start program be your partner in this journey.

10 Benefits of Maintaining a Healthy Weight and How the YMCA can Help

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for both physical and mental well-being. It can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Here are ten benefits of maintaining a healthy weight, along with ways the YMCA can help you achieve your weight goals.

1. A Healthy Heart

Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. The YMCA offers various cardiovascular exercises such as swimming, cycling, and running to help improve your heart health.

2. Increased Energy Levels

Carrying excess weight can make you feel sluggish and tired. The YMCA provides group fitness classes, such as yoga, HIIT, and dance classes, to help boost your energy levels and improve your mood.

3. Better Sleep

Maintaining a healthy weight can help improve your sleep quality. The YMCA offers various relaxation classes such as meditation and mindfulness to help you sleep better.

4. Reduced Risk of Diabetes

You can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes when you maintain a healthy weight.  The YMCA offers diabetes prevention programs that teach healthy lifestyle habits to help prevent diabetes.

5. Stronger Bones and Joints

Staying in a healthy weight range can help reduce the risk of joint pain and improve bone density. The YMCA provides strength-training programs that help build muscle and improve bone health.

6. Improved Mental Health

 A healthy weight can also mean a healthy mind. Maintaining a healthy weight can help improve your mental health and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. The YMCA offers various programs such as counseling and support groups to help improve mental health.

7. Increased Self-Esteem

Maintaining a healthy weight can boost your self-confidence and self-esteem. The YMCA offers various programs such as sports leagues and group fitness classes to help build self-confidence.

8. Reduced Risk of Cancer

 According. to the CDC, being overweight or obese can be linked to cancer.  Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as breast, colon, and prostate cancer. The YMCA offers cancer survivorship programs that provide support and guidance for those who have battled cancer.

9. Improved Immune System

Maintaining a healthy weight can help improve your immune system and reduce the risk of illness. The YMCA provides various programs such as flu shot clinics and health screenings to help boost your immune system.

10. Longer Life Expectancy

With so many reduced risks of illness, you can live a long life! Maintaining a healthy weight can help increase your life expectancy and improve your overall quality of life. The YMCA provides various programs and resources to help you maintain a healthy weight and live a longer, healthier life.

Maintaining a healthy weight is not only beneficial for physical health but also for mental and emotional well-being. The YMCA offers various programs and resources to help individuals achieve and maintain a healthy weight. By taking advantage of these programs, individuals can improve their overall health and quality of life.

My Y Story – Cathy Leonard

“In Jr High, I was diagnosed with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and the therapy for this was swimming. I joined the West Toledo YMCA and began working out with the swim team. Hated every minute of it but became an excellent swimmer.
Fast forward to adulthood and having my own children, I knew I wanted my kids to learn to swim so we joined the Wolf Creek YMCA.
While enjoying our family membership I started taking water fitness classes and even became a water fitness instructor. I wanted to help the aquatic department so I became a lifeguard and swim instructor. With this knowledge, I was asked to help open the Fort Meigs YMCA , and became the aquatics director.
From there, I became a lifeguard trainer and swim instructor trainer. My childhood experience with the Y, brought me to the Y as an adult which, in turn, led me to the most rewarding career”
– Cathy Leonard,
YMCA of Greater Toledo Association Efficiency Director

My Y Story – Ken Howard

“I joined the Y in February 2023, and started taking the Silver Sneaker land classes. After a few months, I had a follow-up appointment with my endocrinologist and found my A1C had lowered significantly along with my blood pressure. I am very happy with the positive health results I have had as a result of attending these free classes.”

– Ken Howard, Eastern Community YMCA member

My Y Story – Maryetta Betz

“I have Parkinson’s Disease. Before coming to the Y, I had very limited mobility and bad balance, requiring me to use a walker at all times. I joined the Y and started participating in The Healthy Living, Parkinson’s Class. I started seeing improvements in my health and went from using a walker to a cane. I also added Balance and Brain classes to my schedule. My balance and mobility have improved so much and now I am no longer reliant on my cane.”

– Maryetta Betz, Eastern Community YMCA Member

Wellness Challenge

Wellness Challenges are Good for You

Participating in exercise challenges can have a positive impact on mental health. It can help in reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Moreover, exercise challenges provide a sense of achievement and improve self-esteem. Social interaction and a support network are additional benefits of participating in exercise challenges that can contribute to overall well-being.

During the month of May, YMCA members can participate in a BINGO Wellness Challenge.

The BINGO squares can be completed by completing a variety of YMCA activities or practicing healthy habits such as;

How to Play:

  • After completing an activity, have you square initialed by a YMCA employee
  • Turn completed cards into the Member Service desk
  • Members can submit more than one card (submit as many as you’d like)

Are you ready to join the challenge? Download your BINGO card today! 

Full Disclaimer



  • Complete 5 squares in a row to be entered to win a $10 Mud Hens gift card


  • Complete all 25 squares and be entered to win a FREE Month of Membership


  • All Entries will be entered for a chance to win a 1 Year Free Membership to Imagination Station, awarded to 1 Lucky YMCA Member