When nonprofit organizations come together to address a critical community need, there is an opportunity for synergy and partnership.
This type of synergy was palpable when Cheryl McCarver, Executive Director of the Arlington Mansfield Area YMCA, and Holly Clinton of the Alzheimer’s Association first broached the topic of educating the Arlington community about Alzheimer’s disease. This quick conversation blossomed and matured into a summer series of educational programs for the AMA YMCA community members.
Recently, on April 20, 2022, AMA YMCA hosted their monthly Coffee & Conversation event for the Arlington community. Ivonne Uquillas, Alzheimer’s Association Bilingual Program Manager, attended the event to introduce herself, present Alzheimer’s Association’s educational programs and resources, and receive community feedback on the plans for the first educational series that would take place during the summer. Attendees were highly receptive and offered personal insight as to how Alzheimer’s disease has affected their family.
The educational series at AMA YMCA included three informational sessions and one evidence-based presentation delivered from May to August. Topics ranged from “warning signs” to “managing finances.” Each session served 15 to 35 attendees, and was open to the public.
“Our shared goal as two non-profit organizations is to improve the health and well-being of the community, especially those who live with chronic disease and their caregivers,” says Shelly Young, Program Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association.
The toll of Alzheimer’s disease and the reality of caregiver stress is an under-appreciated reality in our local community and across the nation. More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and their 11 million unpaid caregivers – i.e. family members and friends – are feeling the effects of it take hold within their workplace and home lives. In 2021, 57% of caregivers had to go into work late, leave early or take time off due to caring for a friend or family member with dementia. Additionally, 18% went from working full-time to working part-time or cutting back their hours.*
However, McCarver is hopeful that the continuation of this programming will help to address this critical community need in Arlington.
“This partnership has created so much synergy between our two organizations,” says McCarver. “Sessions have been very well-attended, and we have had great community feedback on this summer series. We hope to expand this program into other areas of the Arlington and potentially Mansfield communities where this would serve a great need.”
Programs like the Alzheimer’s Education Series at AMA YMCA are free to the community, thanks in part to annual fundraisers like Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Arlington, which will take place this year on Saturday, Oct. 1. This will be the second year in a row the Walk in Arlington will be held at Texas Live (1650 E Randol Mill Road)
“Nearly 80% of the funds raised from the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Arlington directly benefit the care, support, research, awareness and advocacy efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association,” Clinton says.
For more information on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Arlington, visit act.alz.org/arlington. To learn more about the Arlington Mansfield Area YMCA, and to become a member, visit amaymca.org.