$15,000 Grant from Melrose-Wakefield Hospital Supports Making the YMCAs a New Stop on the Councils’ Mobility Van Route

SAUGUS, MA – The YMCA of Metro North and Melrose and Saugus Councils on Aging have teamed up to expand in-person fitness and socializing options for seniors in the area thanks to a $15,000 grant from Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. The funding expands access to the YMCA by making its Saugus and Melrose location a new stop on the Councils’ mobility van route. Seniors can get a ride from the Milano Family Senior Center in Melrose and the Saugus Senior Center to the YMCA and participate in active older adult fitness classes, swim, or socialize during complimentary coffee hours.

Programs and classes at the Melrose and Saugus senior centers have been shuttered since the start of the pandemic. The YMCA of Metro North held virtual classes for seniors until recently when more in-person classes, like Enhance Fitness and Stay Fit for Seniors, were brought back to in person.

“Partnering with YMCA of Metro North is a win-win! Older adults are looking forward to getting out and about again,” explains Stacey Minchello, Executive Director of the Melrose Council on Aging. “Having this partnership provides our seniors with a direct introduction to the YMCA as a community facility as well as specific healthy aging exercise classes and offerings.”

Nearly a dozen local seniors hopped on the first bus from the Saugus Center to the Saugus YMCA on Wednesday, May 26. They were treated to a tour of the facility, a complimentary demo of a group Stay Fit class, and left with information about the programs and classes available to them at the Saugus YMCA in the coming months. The Saugus YMCA offers classes like Stay Fit and Zumba gold that are geared towards active older adults Monday-Friday weekly.

“Seniors are looking to come back to the Y post-pandemic,” noted Amy Looney, Branch Executive Director at the Saugus YMCA. “They miss their routine and are looking for ways to get out and social again. The Y has what they are looking for, and the Council on Aging is key to help make our location accessible.”

The Melrose Council on Aging will transport seniors to the Melrose YMCA on Thursday, May 27th at 12:30pm where seniors will have the opportunity to tour the facility, participate in a Stay Fit demo, and even try a bit of line dancing. YMCA of Metro North and Council on Aging leadership will continue to revise their transportation and activities schedules over the summer months as they continued to reach out to more seniors to encourage their participation.

The grant from Melrose-Wakefield Healthcare will also provide complimentary memberships to seniors participating in the program.

“Now that more restrictions are lifting, we are so excited to open more opportunities and reach a broader range of seniors in our community,” explained Katelyn Papadopoulos, Senior Branch Executive Director at the Melrose YMCA. “We missed them and I know they miss their friends and the Y. It’s a very exciting time.”

In June the Melrose YMCA and Saugus YMCA will host additional open house events at their branches. The Councils on Aging will provide transportation for an open house and class demo to the Melrose YMCA on June 17th at 12:30pm and to the Saugus YMCA on June 23rd at 10:00am. Seniors can call their local Council on Aging to reserve their spot on either tour.