Students had set out to educate members about health, but were pleasantly surprised at the how “health-minded” and well-informed YMCA members already are about health topics. One student remarked, “Everyone we met was already making an effort to live a healthy and active lifestyle!” YMCA members were really warm and open to interacting with them, according to UHM Nursing students. Students felt that members were very interested in learning ways that they could promote their own health needs. Students shared their gratitude for the enthusiasm shown by YMCA members and staff.
A highlight of the experience for many was joining in Donna’s exercise classes. Each week they participated in the Silver and Fit Parkinson’s classes. They were surprised about the level of intensity of these classes. But each time a class ended, all students would come out with a wide smile on their faces. One student commented, “I had a lot of fun exercising with the members at the YMCA. It’s important to me to show them that they are important and that the community cares for them.”
This experience provided a valuable opportunity for them to learn from community members about important resources in the community that support their health. They came away from the experience with a greater appreciation for the resources present in the community that support healthy living, such as clinics and pharmacies, child care facilities, parks, grocery stores, and fitness options all in close proximity. The YMCA was central to their perspective of health promotion. One student remarked, “Seeing how the YMCA plays such a big part in members’ lifestyles was such an awesome experience!”
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