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A new YMCA caters to veterans and a diverse crowd

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When the original Pike Township YMCA was built, it was a temporary location to meet the needs of the area until YMCA of Greater Indianapolis secured funding for a larger, permanent location. 

That plan came to fruition on Dec. 3, 2018 with the opening of the new OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA. The newest Y in the area not only meets the obligation, but goes above expectations with community partnerships that expand Y services. 

The initial conversations for this Y began as something else. A VA employee and a Y staff member were sharing their thoughts on how a partnership could happen. Originally, both parties believed that would come in the form of building an addition for veterans onto an already existing YMCA location. 

Monthly meetings began between the two organizations to discuss how to raise funds for the addition. Then, OrthoIndy caught wind of the plans the Y had to build an addition especially for veterans. Inspired by the mission of the YMCA and the groundwork that had already been laid, OrthoIndy made a naming gift to build a brand-new YMCA facility that would include a VA clinic.  

OrthoIndy’s investment created a chain reaction and within two years enough money was raised to break ground on the new facility in Pike Township. This facility is the first of its kind, said executive director Monic Hill. The new location is the only facility in the United States and Canada that houses a VA medical clinic to serve veterans. 

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Hill said. “The VA staff has received so many calls from people wanting to see how they can be treated and inquiring about how they can become involved with the Y.”

Beyond the medical center, the new facility has a teaching kitchen for members and veterans to learn how to cook and speak with dieticians, an intergenerational room to encourage members of all ages to sit and get to know one another and an indoor pool with a zero-depth entrance and two water wheelchairs so those with disabilities can get in and out of the pool easily. “Everything was built with intention,” Hill said.

Even the scriptures in the chapel were selected with multiple religions in mind, not just Christianity. 

Dr. Ina Wilson said she loves that her family now has a place where all of them feel like they belong and that’s also a little closer to home. Before the opening of the OrthoIndy YMCA, her family attended the Hendricks County facility for five years. 

“I’m a firm believer that health is wealth,” Wilson said. “When you’re unhealthy it contributes to a lot of things to your life. Given that my husband is a veteran and was diagnosed with heart disease at a young age, having a facility in town that caters not only to his medical needs, but a lot of those physical and psychological needs is really special. Being able to exercise around other veterans who understand your story and sometimes some of your limitations is very encouraging for him.” 

The OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA will have its first community wide event on Jan. 12, 2019. Everyone from the community is invited to come, regardless of membership, to tour the 56,000-square foot property and enjoy a day of active fun. Festivities begin at 10 a.m.

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