YMCA Branch Name

For Youth Development
For Healthy Living
For Social Development

KEARNEY — The Kearney Family YMCA will accept a $12,200 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska at the annual Cornhusker State Games Torch Run this afternoon at the Y at 4500 Sixth Ave.

The presentation will be made between 5:30 and 6 p.m., according to Denny Placzek, executive director at the Y.

The grant will go to the Y’s popular diabetes prevention program, now in its second year. The one-year program is for people who are at least 18 years old, overweight and at risk of developing diabetes, according to Pamela Little, the Y’s aquatic manager. She filled out the application at the end of March.

“We at the Y want to do more than ‘typical swim and gym.’ We want to go after what the community needs,” Little said. “Lowering the risk for disease is always a goal. Diabetes is a huge health risk.”

Laura Aden, a Y lifestyle coach, leads the program, which began in February 2013 with 28 enrollees. Participants aim to lose at least 5 percent of their weight, engage in physical activity for at least 150 minutes a week and learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They must also keep a health journal.


Sessions are conducted for 16 consecutive weeks and are followed by monthly maintenance programs. Five lifestyle coaches help run the program. Class participants in 2013 got a free YMCA trial membership.

Students must be referred to the program by a physician or qualify based on a risk assessment, Little said. That assessment includes a person’s weight and family history of type-2 diabetes, she said.

The national weight loss average is 4.8 per cent, while the Kearney Family YMCA’s average weight loss is 6.96 percent, Little said.

The next class will begin at the end of July. Maximum number for each class is 15, but open enrollment is accepted. Cost is $250.

“We’ve been very successful,” Little said. “We had 95 percent attendance every time, and every participant surpassed the weight loss goal of 5 percent, which was awesome.”

Also at the Y this afternoon, former Nebraska Cornhusker and NBA player Erick Strickland will have a sports clinic at 4 p.m. His appearance is made possible by the LiveWell Nebraska Tour.

The Cornhusker State Games Torch Run began in Alliance Monday and will conclude Friday in Lincoln. Today’s stretch goes from Lexington to Kearney. Along with the torch run, free outdoor classes will be offered to the public at the Y, including a 5 p.m. Zumba workout.

The Y is committed to providing programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. We make every effort to ensure that no one is turned away due to inability to pay. Click to read more about our financial assistance.