Huntington YMCA Adds Healthy Living Center

The Huntington YMCA has been part of the Huntington community for more than 60 years, and just finished building the Jorge Family Healthy Living Center that will host free or reduced fee chronic disease prevention and recovery lifestyle-focused classes for all community members. These classes include LiveSTRONG cancer survivor program and Moving for Better Balance, which is a fall prevention class. The new building is now open and ready for classes.

This project came to life after the Huntington YMCA expanded with a new fitness building in 2010, and members who were interested in healthy living programs asked for more space. The new center offers more than 100 wellness classes throughout the week that are included with a YMCA membership, including yoga, indoor spin, Pilates, meditation, and barre. It has programs for youth, teens, adults, and seniors. The Y also offers chronic disease prevention programs in collaboration with Northwell Health and Suffolk County.

Eileen Knauer, Y’s chief operating officer, said previously lifestyle classes were offered in a building the Y didn’t own, prompting the Board to decide to expand their own campus. The Y fundraised for about 3 years. The money raised came from a mix of private donations and state funds.

Knauer emphasized that projects and expansions like the Healthy Living Center are part of what makes YMCAs so essential to their communities, and that fundraising efforts underline how much faith Huntington has in its Y.

“We look to identify where there are gaps in programs and services and how the Y can either partner, collaborate, or deliver those services based on what the community tells us they need,” Knauer said. “There was a lot of effort put into focus groups to decide and determine what this building was going to be and look like.”

The Center has programs available for kids, teenagers, adults, and seniors. One of its main spaces is convertible no matter what kind of class is taking place, with an instructional teaching kitchen at the center of it all.

“It’s really our prevention programs that drove us through our efforts to build this, because we see the impact they have on individual lives,” Knauer said. “People are transformed coming through these programs.”