Grantee Blog 2020

Facing Inequity with Youth and Families During the COVID-19 Era

The work we are set to accomplish through the current round of NJ Healthier Communities may seem irrelevant or insignificant at this point in time due to the pandemic but in actuality it is more important than ever.  Why?  Scroll through these factual points:

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing and widening existing social justice gaps in education and employment.
  2. Government feeding program, social service food pantries, and food banks are in greater demand than ever.
  3. The new coronavirus has underscored harsh health inequities in America.
  4. Some people can afford to protect their health during a pandemic, while others cannot.
  5. We’re seeing that places with serious health disparities are particularly vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19.
  6. Researchers have found mood enhancement effects within five minutes of exercising, as well as greater rates of remission for depression and mood disorders after months of regular exercise.

The Irony:

The most vulnerable families and individuals to the virus are those who suffer from chronic health disease.  These are the same folks who our work has been directed at by bringing environmental and policy change for better nutrition and access to physical fitness!

The Challenge:

  1. How do we respond to the needs of the communities we serve, and how do we begin engaging with them at this time of crisis?
  2. How do we promote the have adoption their equity-driven practices?

The Raritan Valley YMCA’s Commitment:

We will continue to engage youth and families during the pandemic with advocacy work, free online access to physical activity, and recreation, and food distribution to the needy.  We will continue our healthy eating and physical activity space audits to support this commitment.

A Closing Thought:  

“Because of the demographics of our unhealthy population, and in New Orleans, in particular, we do have a large number of patients who have these conditions and that is what puts the patients in a higher risk category, even if they are of a younger age,” said James Diaz, MD, of the Louisiana State University Health School of Public Health. “You don’t necessarily have to be older than 65, for example; you could be younger and have one of these coexisting medical conditions.”


About the Grantee

Raritan Valley YMCA

The Raritan Valley YMCA was founded in New Brunswick, NJ in 1867. The Y features a child care center, day camp, wellness center and aquatic programming, with numerous off-site community programs and outreach efforts. The YMCA serves 13 surrounding Middlesex County communities, embracing diversity and collaborative efforts to deliver needed programs and community health improvements.