Monroe County YMCA Blog

Bloomington, Indiana

Donisha Reed

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AmeriCorps and the Y making a difference in Monroe County

We are pleased to honor Donisha Reed, an AmeriCorps volunteer who has served the Monroe County YMCA for the past seven months working with the Energize program. Energize is a program that brings healthy fitness, eating, and lifestyle education to classrooms across Monroe County in innovative and hands-on ways.

Donisha has worked very hard to expand the Energize program by developing new programs and instructing our students with enthusiasm. She took the initiative to apply for a grant through the American Public Health Program at Indiana University – and she was successful! The funds from this grant will help purchase supplies and provide the students will some fun extra events.

Donisha has a strong background in health issues and her talents were expanded to our Energize classes on a daily basis. She is completing her service to the Monroe County YMCA and has accepted a job in Wichita Falls, TX, as a Health Director for the Bill Bartley YMCA. Congratulations, Donisha!

AmeriCorps engages more than 50,000 Americans each year to meet community needs in community education. The Monroe County YMCA has hosted an AmeriCorps member for the past seven years. Supervised by Nancy Wroblewski, our AmeriCorps volunteers have contributed a great deal to the Y, helping us expand our impact on the Monroe County community.

Donisha is finishing her service at the Y by creating promotional materials for our Healthy Kids Day, which will occur April 12th.

We wish Donisha the best of luck in her new YMCA adventure. She will serve our mission in an outstanding manner.

For more information on Energize, visit

To contact Nancy Wroblewski, email

Donisha Reed

Donisha Reed, AmeriCorps volunteer, works with kids through the Energize program

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From toddlers to retirees, the Y offers swimming and other water exercise opportunities for every age group and ability level.  Our goal in all of our aquatic programs is for people to be safe and enjoy being active in and around the water.  Then it’s up to you!  Swimming lessons, water aerobics, parent-child classes, competitive swimming and more can be part of your sumer.

Whether you’re at the Y, the beach, the lake or the neighborhood pool this summer, make these promises to yourself and the kids in your care:

  • I will make sure my children learn to swim
  • If I can’t swim, I will learn
  • I will make sure Coast Guard-approved life jackets are worn by all non-swimmers
  • I will maintain visual contact with my child
  • I won’t swim or allow children to swim when or where there is no lifeguard on duty
  • I won’t dive or jump or allow children to dive or jump, where the water depth is unknown
  • I will stay no more than an arm’s length away from any child who cannot swim

Visit the Monroe County YMCA website to see all of the Aquatic happenings for the summer!

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Americorps at the Monroe County YMCA


AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 men and women in intensive service each year at more than 15,000 locations including nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country.  AmeriCorps members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve. Members gain valuable professional, educational, and life benefits, and the experience has a lasting impact on the members and the communities they serve.

AmeriCorps consists of three main programs: AmeriCorps State and National, whose members serve with national and local nonprofit and community groups; AmeriCorps VISTA, through which members serve full time fighting poverty; and AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps), a team-based residential program for young adults 18-24 who carry out projects in public safety, the environment, youth development, and disaster relief and preparedness.

Strengthening Nonprofits and the Volunteer Sector

Strengthening nonprofits: AmeriCorps members help faith-based and community groups expand services, build capacity, raise funds, develop new partnerships, and create innovative, sustainable programs.

Encouraging competition and local control:  AmeriCorps pushes funding and decision-making to the state and local level. Most grantees are chosen by bipartisan state commissions appointed by the governor.

Advancing social innovation: AmeriCorps invests in entrepreneurial organizations that have been recognized for their innovative approaches to citizen problem-solving such as Teach for America, City Year, YouthBuild, JumpStart, Citizen Schools, and Experience Corps.

Expanding Educational Opportunity and Building Future Leaders

Expanding educational opportunity:  In exchange for a year of full-time service, AmeriCorps members earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award (equal to the maximum Pell Grant) that helps pay for college or pay back student loans. AmeriCorps members have earned more than $2.4 billion in these awards since 1994.

Preparing the 21st Century Workforce:  AmeriCorps is a pathway to economic opportunity that provides members with valuable skills specific to their service (construction, teaching, weatherization, etc.) as well as general skills of leadership and problem-solving that all employers are looking for.

Creating future leaders: AmeriCorps members gain new and useful skills, advance their education, and become more connected to their communities. A longitudinal study has shown that AmeriCorps alumni are more likely to be civically engaged, to go into public service careers—such as teaching, public safety, social work, and military service—and to volunteer in their communities.

Leveraging a Powerful Return on the Investment

Public private partnerships: AmeriCorps leverages substantial private investment—more than $480 million in non-CNCS funds each year from businesses, foundations, and other sources. AmeriCorps has cut costs and become more efficient by supporting more members with fewer federal dollars.

Mobilizing volunteers: AmeriCorps is a powerful catalyst and force-multiplier for community volunteering. Last year AmeriCorps members recruited, trained, and supervised more than 4 million community volunteers for the organizations they serve.

AmeriCorps at the Monroe County YMCA

GetPhotoThe Monroe County YMCA has been fortunate to be an Americorps host site for the past 6 years and has been given 5,400 hours of service by their outstanding members!  Our current AmeriCorps member is Amanda McIntyre.  Amanda came to us in September of 2012 and will complete her service in August.  Amanda is currently working with our ENGERGIZE program, a childhood obesity prevention program we hold in MCCSC schools.  Amanda, and all of the AmeriCorps volunteers before her, have made a real and last impact at the Monroe County  YMCA!

AmeriCorps Fast Facts  January 2013

800,000          Number of people who have served as AmeriCorps members since 1994.

1 billion            Total number of hours served by AmeriCorps members since 1994.

5.2 million      Number of disadvantaged youth tutored, mentored, or served by AmeriCorps members in fiscal 2011.

4 million          Number of community volunteers managed or mobilized by AmeriCorps members in fiscal 2011.

$480 million  Value of cash and in-kind donations leveraged by AmeriCorps members in fiscal 2010.

15,000              Number of AmeriCorps service locations in 2012.

$2.4 billion     Total amount of Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards earned by AmeriCorps members since 1994.

For more information about AmeriCorps, visit

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Weightloss Wednesday with Jim – March 13, 2013


Jim Kobow blogged about his participation in the Monroe County YMCA’s inaugural Weight Loss Program (Fall 2012).  He shared the good, the bad and the ugly of his journey in the program as he lost 40 pounds!  Jim is still working toward his overall weightloss goal and his participating in the Weight Loss Program for a second time.  Check out our past posts to see Jim’s previous entries.   Welcome back, Jim!  Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with us.

You probably noticed no blog last week; well it was a hectic week to put it mildly.  My wife had just returned from Triathlon training out in Tucson, Arizona, and was very sick when she got home.  Between work and doing my best to make sure she was okay there was not a lot of free time.   The week leading up to that was … let’s say different for me.  I really come to appreciate Margie when she’s gone.  My life changes in many shapes and forms when she is away.  I tend to eat healthier when she’s around because she’s sort of the line judge in football making sure that I don’t jump offsides when it comes to food choices.  Not that she really ever says anything; it’s more of a mental check by myself knowing that she’s around.

I have been in a real funk … for lack of a better term.  My journaling has been nonexistent.  Exercise has been a struggle.  Food choices have been poor at best.  Have you ever been down that road where you are going to start something (diet, exercise, whatever) and you keep telling yourself, “I’ll start fresh tomorrow,” but then tomorrow never seems to come?  That’s been me trying to get back into my weight loss and exercise groove.  I will start the day out with either a healthy breakfast choice or a good lunch, only to crash and burn either late afternoon with a terrible snack or dinner.  Then end with no exercise.  Webster defines plateau as: a relatively stable level, period, or condition: a level of attainment or achievement, this probably best describes my current status.  I need to find that focus and drive that I had 14 months ago.

This has only been made worse by missing the last two weeks of weight loss class.  The first was work related and unavoidable. The second was last week because I had tickets to the Ohio State game and needed the time to get everybody picked up to arrive at the game on time.  I could have easily forgone this game, but it was senior night and I really wanted to be there for Jordan Hulls last game.  It’s easy to let go when there’s no accountability.  Webster defines accountability as: the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.  I can admit that I have lacked accountability lately.  How do you get that drive, desire, or fire back to finish what you set out to accomplish?  There’s only one way;  you simply have to put your nose to the grindstone and put one foot in front of the other and continue to move forward.  You have to ask yourself how bad you want it.  Moving forward I restructured my plan.

My first move was that I enrolled in Boot Camp which meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at 6:00am.  Anybody who knows me should know I’m not a morning person.  If I can manage to make it to these classes I know I will be successful.  The first week, after Wednesday’s class, I was pretty sure that I would never be able to sit down again without pain (Thanks, Denae), as we had done so many lunges that my glutes were screaming.  Boot Camp was my first step in getting refocused. The next step is to get the eating under control.  That will require journaling to make sure that I’m being completely honest with myself.  I know that I can do this.  It just requires a commitment that I’m more than willing to make.  The final step is to make sure that I’m making good food choices and not cheating myself by ignoring items that I eat that are not healthy.

This week in class we talked about healthy versus unhealthy cues, whether they are food or activity related and it really hit home with me.  The premise being that there are things in everyone’s environment that act as cues to eat healthy or unhealthy and to be active or inactive.  I think everybody in the class agreed that the weather is a cue for both eating and activity.  I know that lately I’ve let workplace negative cues affect me adversely.  We have guys bring in donuts on Saturday and I’d like to say that I avoided them but I’d be lying to not only you but myself.  The same day we had a customer bring in pizza from DeAngelo’s and I have to say it was delicious, for a few moments, but then I found myself feeling really guilty about eating it.

I hope that this week’s blog doesn’t come off as too negative.  These are simply the battles I have faced lately with my weight loss struggle.  I know that I’ve got two classes left to right the ship and I am determined to do so.  I’m doing better already.  As I write this, I’m enjoying a delicious Fuji apple rather than a piece of candy, and the weather man is calling for better weather so it will be easier to get outside and get moving.

See you next week.

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Weightloss Wednesday with Jim – February 27, 2013


Jim Kobow blogged about his participation in the Monroe County YMCA’s inaugural Weight Loss Program (Fall 2012).  He shared the good, the bad and the ugly of his journey in the program as he lost 40 pounds!  Jim is still working toward his overall weightloss goal and his participating in the Weight Loss Program for a second time.  Check out our past posts to see Jim’s previous entries.   Welcome back, Jim!  Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with us.

We apologize for not getting you Jim’s blog last week.  So what you are reading here was actually written last week.  We will post Jim’s blog post written this week in a few days to get us all caught up with Jim!

Okay, so how in the world am I supposed to sit down and write this week’s blog after having just finished watching an amazing Indiana versus Michigan State basketball game?  On a positive note I think I lost a couple pounds while cheering the Hoosiers on to victory.  On a serious note, you didn’t miss my blog last week; I’ve been sick and didn’t manage to attend class last week or write a blog.   I have always considered one of my strong points to be that when I usually feel like I’m coming down with something I’ve been able to go to the gym and more or less sweat it out of my system.  Not the case this time.  I worked out last night for the first time since a week ago Sunday.  An eternity for me.   I can’t remember the last time I missed an entire week of workouts.  Unfortunately, sometimes your body just tells you it’s not going to cooperate.  It wouldn’t be a big deal if I simply would’ve eaten well.   There’s something about not feeling well that makes the body crave “comfort food”.  Foods that are healthy don’t seem to have the flavor I desire when I’m feeling bad. I seem to need those salty, heavy sauced foods which are full of flavor, and unfortunately full of fat and calories.  In reality it’s more likely that when we don’t feel good, we tend to sit in front of the TV and just veg out, and the natural thing to do in front of the TV is to graze.  A week and a half of no workouts and bad food choices meant that I knew what the results were going to be.  There would be no hiding the truth when on the scales this week.  I was prepared for the results that would come with this weigh in.

This week our class focused on making sure we are eating meals that are well balanced.  I have to admit this is a real weakness for me.  I tend to have meals that are strongly carb based or more concentrated on proteins.  I have a problem with vegetables and fruits in my meals unless I’m having a salad for dinner.  It’s not that I don’t like to have vegetables during my meals, it’s more that I’m just not good about preparing them in an appetizing way.  My cooking prowess for vegetables doesn’t go much past microwaving a bag of broccoli or brussel sprouts.  It’s hard to eat those same two every night.  If you’re not sure what constitutes a well-balanced meal you can visit the following website;   It’s a great check for what you should have on your plate each meal.  It also has some great tools available like  myplate videos, healthy eating on a budget, super tracker, 10 tips nutritional education series, sample menus and recipes, daily food plans, and printable materials to help with healthy food choices.

I definitely have two major weaknesses that I possess…eating a well-balanced plate at meals and eating too much processed foods, which tend to be really high in sodium.  This week’s smart challenge for me is going to eat less processed foods and to incorporate a more balanced plate at each meal.  I’ve also found my workout lacking some direction lately, so I decided to sign up for boot camp.  This is major for me.  The class is at 6:00 am Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.  If you know me very well you know that I am not the best functioning individual at 6am in the morning.  Wish me luck.  The class begins Monday morning next week.

One thing I almost forgot, a week ago last Saturday I got together with my new friend Charles.   Charles had reached out to me thru Facebook Messenger.  Charles has been on his own weight loss journey and his mom, who is a childhood friend of mine, suggested he contact me for workout ideas.  He had never really worked out before other than he had started a running program he found online.  So we met Saturday evening at the Y and we had a great workout together.  We did some cardio, as well as some weight lifting.  He seemed to really be headed in the right direction and I wish him the best in his journey as I know it can be tough.  I’m sure he will be successful.  Charles, best of luck going forward.   I hope our short time together helped.  If you read this, I know you celebrated a birthday yesterday, think back to where you were last year and imprint upon your brain how much better you feel where you are now versus where you were last year.  Best of luck…one step at a time.

So, I’ve taken a little bit of a set back the last two weeks but nothing I can’t bounce back from.  I will continue on with my journey and toward my goal.  I will get there, maybe a little later than planned, but I will get there.  I saw a poster that seems appropriate right now, it said; “Whether you ran a 4 minute mile or a 16 minute mile, you still ran a mile”.

This week’s Results:

Starting weigh in 267.7 lbs.

This week’s weigh in 263.8 lbs

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Weightloss Wednesday With Jim, February 7, 2013


Jim Kobow blogged about his participation in the Monroe County YMCA’s inaugural Weight Loss Program (Fall 2012).  He shared the good, the bad and the ugly of his journey in the program as he lost 40 pounds!  Jim is still working toward his overall weightloss goal and his participating in the Weight Loss Program for a second time.  Check out our past posts to see Jim’s previous entries.   Welcome back, Jim!  Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with us.

This week I was really focused on getting 100% back on program.  It’s Sunday night as I write this and the week has been really strong so far.  My exercise has been really good and so have my food choices.  My first really good success was Saturday night as I went to dinner with my wife.  We went to Lennie’s and I ordered a double house salad with fat free dressing and French onion soup without the cheese and croutons.  Sunday rolled around and I was planning on going to the IU, Ohio State women’s basketball game.  You’ve got to eat at the game, right?  Well this presents a problem because there is nothing really healthy at the concession stands and last year they started a policy of no longer allowing you to bring food or drinks into the game.  So I did the logical thing and made myself a turkey sandwich on a whole wheat sandwich thin, 1 oz of fat free pretzels, grabbed an apple and an orange and then put on my biggest and bulkiest sweatshirt. I then strategically loaded my lunch and asked my wife if she was a ticket taker would she suspect me of smuggling food into the game.  I managed to get my food into the game, but I think this speaks to a bigger issue.  Why should I have to smuggle food into a women’s game in order to eat healthy?  The news is plagued with stories about childhood obesity and how we are becoming so increasingly unhealthy in this nation.  So why we would not have healthy choices at a venue where lots of kids are in attendance, rather than forcing them to eat hot dogs, greasy pizza, or popcorn laden with oil and salt?  I know I’m on a soap box here, but I have to think back and wonder how my life might be different with healthier food choices at an early stage.  Most of the young ladies that attend an IU women’s basketball game probably dream of wearing that uniform some day and representing the Hoosiers; so why not offer them the options of healthy food choices that would help them possibly achieve that dream someday?  FYI, I did write a letter to Fred Glass, IU Athletic Director, voicing my opinion on this matter.

The second good thing that took place this week  is that I received a message on Facebook Messenger from a young man I did not know.  It turns out that he is the son of my next door neighbor when I was growing up.  Turns out this young man has lost some significant weight thru diet alone and is now trying to incorporate some exercise into his life, but is unsure where to start.  His mother has seen my transformation and I feel a twinge of pride that she directed him toward me for advice.  I told him I’d be happy to work out with him some night and show him what I like and what has worked for me.  I did explain that everyone is different and how important it is too step out of your comfort zone to try something different from time to time.  You never know what you may like until you try it.  I look at this opportunity as a way of paying it forward and hopefully it sticks for this young man, he’s made incredible strides on his own and I know that adding exercise will allow him to be even that more healthy and successful in his journey.

Super Bowl Sunday – a dieters nightmare!!! Google sometime how many wings, chips, and pizzas are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.  It will alarm you.  I didn’t attend any parties this year so I would not be tempted.  I also started the game off in the Y watching it on TV while I exercised.  Turns out that’s a great time to attend the Y. I think I saw a few tumbleweeds go by my treadmill, it was that empty.  The only time better might be during an IU home basketball game.  My meal that night consisted of a grilled chicken breast with a little hot sauce, some roasted brussel sprouts and some brown rice.  I splurged during the second half of the game and had some light butter microwave popcorn.  Huge success for me as wings and nachos are a problem for me.

This week’s class was on how to successfully eat out.  There are a lot of easy things that you can do to be successful when eating out.  There are clues on the menu also; looking for grilled or broiled usually indicates a healthier choice.  If you are eating at a chain restaurant you can visit their web site and look up the nutritional values.  I have found the things that work best for me is simply explaining to the waiter that I’m looking for healthy choices and they are always willing to accommodate you.  I always order my salad dressing on the side, and if I’m ordering a steak, I’ll ask them to bring a box right at the start so I can portion it properly and put the rest in a take home box.  They do work for tips so they want to make you happy.   It definitely becomes easier thru time to make healthy choices and to understand what those healthy choices are.

Some this week’s results:

Starting weight 267.7 lbs.

This week’s weigh in 258.4



Weightloss Wednesday with Jim – Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Jim Kobow blogged about his participation in the Monroe County YMCA’s inaugural Weight Loss Program (Fall 2012).  He shared the good, the bad and the ugly of his journey in the program as he lost 40 pounds!  Jim is still working toward his overall weightloss goal and his participating in the Weight Loss Program for a second time.  Check out our past posts to see Jim’s previous entries.   Welcome back, Jim!  Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with us.

Let me start off this week’s blog by apologizing for not producing a blog for last week.  It was an average week with a lot going on at work which made it hard for me to sit down and have the time to write anything.  It probably had more to do with the fact that I just didn’t have anything to say…I know that’s hard for some of you to believe.  I had an average week with ok results. I lost 1.3 lbs.  Not the kind of number I wanted to put up but definitely movement in the right direction.  I did do one thing that was different last week and that was I went to 9Rounds Fitness.  It’s a boxing/kickboxing fitness center.  The premise is that you do 9 intervals of 3 minutes, with 30 seconds in between rounds.  Doesn’t sound too bad; 3 minute stations with each station having different elements of exercise with 30 seconds to recover in between stations.  WRONG!!!  The 30 seconds is spent doing jumping jacks and other various jumping and skipping activities.  I did pretty good till the 8th round, which was on the speed bag.  I looked at the trainer and told him I was spent.  He told me that most people gas out on the 4th or 5th station and he didn’t think I would make it to the 4th and he acted impressed.  That made all the more determined to finish the workout. We took a short water break and then finished the last station.  This was one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done.  I love to try new things that test me and this definitely was a great test.  I won’t be joining the 9round fitness center but I’m glad that I tried something new.  Sometimes our gym activity can get stale and we need to change that routine.

Flash forward to this week … a train wreck would have been prettier than what I imagine my results will be this week.  I’m not sure where I derailed, but I haven’t tracked my food and I haven’t been in the gym.  Monday night I had a great workout followed by a good workout after class on Tuesday.  Then came Wednesday, I started the morning early in Indianapolis at the Auto Auction.  Coming back to work and closing the dealership at 7pm I had no intention of even pretending to go to the Y.  Then the food issues started.  Thursday should have turned it around for me.  I’ve mentioned before what an incredible boss Cary Curry is to work for and  I can’t say it enough.  Thursday we had a wellness coordinator, Jodi Hoagland, in for a luncheon to speak about nutrition and eating healthy.  To top things off we had a completely healthy lunch as well with a choice of Turkey, Roast Beef, or Veggie sandwiches from Jimmy Johns (without the mayo) and a fresh mix of fruits.  You would think this would have pushed me to the Y that night…wrong again.  Then Friday came and I did eat healthier and got a workout in.  The train derailed again on Saturday when they ordered Aver’s pizza for lunch.  Cream and Crimson pizza, how can a true Hoosier say no to it?

So here I sit Sunday evening, not making excuses but ready to accept the consequences of my behavior.  When I worked security for Target stores my boss told me that when approaching a shoplifter the one thing you have to keep in the back of your mind is “that for every action there is a reaction” …  the lesson being that when confronting a shoplifter, approaching them aggressively would cause the reaction to  be one of aggression.  Good advice.  I know that my actions this week will result in a reaction by my body.  It’s one I’m not proud of but I accept it for what it is and know that at this point all I can do is try and mitigate the damages on the scale Tuesday night.  The positive is that I actually spent 3 hours in the gym this morning.  I have eaten well today and tracked everything.  I don’t really know what caused the lapse in my self-control this week.  I would guess it’s the same reason that I once weighed 344 lbs.  The difference now is that I have the ability to see when things are spinning out of control and make the necessary adjustments to calm things down before they are too bad.  The one thing I have come to understand is that this journey is a marathon not a sprint.  I’ve come to realize that one thing that has hurt me is not having a goal.  When I started this journey I wanted to lose 50lbs by my 50th.  Then I was training to run the Las Vegas Half Marathon, which helped to keep me focused till the end of the year.  So here it is.  I currently weigh 261.3, at least until I weigh in Tuesday night, but I am going to be at my goal weight on July 15th which is my 51st birthday.  That’s almost exactly 25 weeks from tonight.  My goal weight is 210, so I have to average right at 2 lbs. the rest of the way out. I’m hoping Tuesday’s weighin doesn’t bump that average too much higher.  This is a highly doable goal as long as I stay focused, which I know that I can do.  So to all that read this, July 15th there will be a celebration not of my Birthday but of my accomplishing what I set out to do a little over a year ago.

UPDATE:  Well we’ve weighed in and the damage was not as bad as it could have been.  I gained 1.5 lbs. which I’m not proud of but I’m back on track.  I’ve had three really strong nights in the Y and am moving forward toward my goal.  The other positive is that by missing last week’s blog, I’ve had a lot of people approach me and ask if they simply missed it.  So I know that people are reading this and hopefully they are gaining insight from my trials as well as my victories.  Here’s to the victories OUTWEIGHING the failures

Starting weight 267.7 lbs.

This week’s weigh in 262.8 lbs.