HEALTHY LIVING – Walking and Walkable Communities & Childhood Obesity Prevention


For two consecutive years, the Pennsylvania State Alliance of YMCAs has received a grant from YMCA of the USA through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support the Surgeon General’s “Call to Action on Walking and Walkable Communities.” Each grant was for $4,000.

In 2016, the state alliance co-hosted the South Central Pennsylvania Walking Summit with the Pennsylvania Departments of Health, Transportation, and Conservation and Natural Resources. The summit reviewed the Department of Health’s “WalkWorks” initiative which was also linked to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action. Additionally, the event looked at a specific improvement project within the state Capitol Complex and included an open discussion about barriers to walkable communities.

In 2017, the state alliance sent out an RFP for using Walking Grant funds. Two YMCAs were awarded grants.

The Sewickley Valley YMCA, an affiliate of the WalkWorks initiative, partnered with the Borough of Coraopolis to initiate a “Walk Coraopolis” event to promote walking as a healthy living lifestyle.

Additionally, The Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA was awarded two grants. One grant supported a walking audit intended to improve access to walking to church for local residents. The second grant supported a Walk with Ease Program to help support walking as a lifestyle option for older adults in the Wilkes-Barre community.


Coraopolis residents register for the “Walk Coraopolis” event hosted by the Sewickley Valley YMCA.


Officials welcome walkers to the “Walk Coraopolis” event on Sunday, July 30th. (left to right) Raymond McCutcheon, Coraopolis Borough Manager; Trish Hooper of the Sewickley Valley YMCA, CEO; and Carol Reichbaum of WalkWorks, Project Coordinator.


Photo from one of the several “Walk with the Mayor” events hosted by Sherry Capello, mayor of Lebanon, and the Lebanon Valley Family YMCA. Each walk is approximately a mile long and consists of a guided tour from Mayor Capello of various historic sites and landmarks within the city of Lebanon. Walkers are provided with a free pedometer, water, and fitness tips from a YMCA Health Coach. (left to right) PA State Alliance of YMCAs Executive Director David John, State Alliance intern Sydney Klabnik, City of Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello, and Lebanon Valley Family YMCA CEO Phil Tipton.


The Pennsylvania State Alliance of YMCAs has partnered with the YMCA Legislative Caucus of the General Assembly to initiate a comprehensive study of childhood obesity prevention and to propose ways to reverse this unhealthy trend.

State Representative Seth Grove, House Chair of the YMCA Caucus, sponsored House Resolution 243 directing the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to study childhood obesity prevention.

The Advisory Committee, chaired by John Flynn, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA, and comprised of professionals representing school nurses, dietitians, nutritionists, health and physical education teachers and others released the final report of its findings and recommendations in June 2014.

Click here to read the report!

The Alliance is working with the YMCA Caucus to advocate for legislative, regulatory and other changes necessary to help our children live a more healthy lifestyle!