Kishwaukee Family YMCA

Youth Development Alerts Healthy Living Social Responsibiliy

Project Phoenix is our NEW program developed specifically for those fighting morbid obesity. This 12-month program is FREE to all members, but each must present a doctor’s referral and approval for exercise before beginning. As we launch this flagship program, participation will be limited to 6 qualifying members. We will delve deeply into changing our habits, our mindsets, and our movement.

Our Project Phoenix classes will include movement: cardio, functional training, water exercise, resistance training, and walking. It is a simple truth that a bigger battle requires consistent training and lots of support! Project Phoenix will also include nutritional counseling and food tracking, a Facebook accountability group, weekly check-ins, and a Phoenix message pod for community and connection. The Kishwaukee Family YMCA is also looking forward to partnering with specialists and educators in our community to help change the lives of our members who are battling morbid obesity.

Interested in joining? Contact:
Laci Emmens
Healthy Living Coordinator

Date posted: July 12, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Project Phoenix

Categories: News

Get fit with in-water full-body conditioning while working with a group of other motivated individuals. A coach will be present 1-2 times a week to guide proper stroke mechanics for maximum athletic performance. 3 workouts will be written out and ready for you to follow each week.



Sept. 11-Dec.17: Registration Closes Nov 1st


Mon., Tues & Weds. 5:00-6:00am


Lap Pool


Members: $100



Jan 8- April 14: Registration Opens Dec 11


Mon., Tue., wed. 5:00-6:00am in the Lap Pool


Members: $110

Questions? Contact:
Kayleigh Kozlowski
DCST Head Coach

Date posted: July 12, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Masters Swim

Categories: News

Meet Jan: A Pedaling for Parkinson’s Interview

by Anna Brodarick

Last month, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jan Edwards, a faithful member of the Kishwaukee Family YMCA for over a decade. I’ve noticed Jan pass my office for the last year on her way to Pedaling for Parkinson’s—a specialty class offered Tuesdays and Thursdays in our cycling room led by instructor Karen Villano. I had seen Jan’s photo featured in the Daily Chronicle for her participation in Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s next door at the Northwestern Wellness Center, and I took the opportunity to ask her about it. This led to a wonderful conversation and eventually interview where she shared her story and what makes her such a consistent attendee at our programs.

Pedaling for Parkinson’s is a nationwide program created to help those living with the disease to stay active. The format is simple: cyclists begin their 45-minute class with a 5-10 minute warmup that leads into a hill climb or other challenging expedition led by an instructor. Each participant can choose their preferred resistance, incline, and speed. After the heart of the workout, the group does a 5-10 minute cooldown before finishing up for the day. Like many of our group fitness class offerings, the strength is in the community culture that motivates participants to keep coming back.

Time to Reach Out for Help
As a lifelong teacher and international tour guide, Jan was used to a fast daily pace. She knew something was off when her walking slowed down, speech quieted, and handwriting went from “perfect-Palmer-method” to scribble. It was time to ask for help. After seeking professional consultation, Jan received her Parkinson’s diagnosis. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, its progress can be slowed, and one of the most effective methods is regular exercise. This knowledge was all Jan needed to get started with a regular routine. Jan knew it had to be more than just walking down the block—she needed to find a challenging and consistent program that worked. That’s when she discovered Pedaling for Parkinson’s at the Kishwaukee Family YMCA which has made an incredible impact on her personal health.

Jan’s doctor says, “whatever you’re doing at the Y and the Wellness Center, keep it up, because it’s working!” Jan attends Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s at Northwestern three days a week, and our Pedaling for Parkinson’s class at the YMCA twice a week.

Jan’s Movement Disorder Specialist measures her on a regular basis to track the progression of her Parkinson’s. The lower the number, the better. As a result of her commitment to exercise five times a week, she has worked her way down from a measurement of 34 to 13!

As inspiration to others, Jan says “I can verify that it worked for me. The more I exercise, the better I get at it.”

Pedaling As a Snowbird
About ten years ago, Jan and her husband began spending part of their year in Sebring, Florida. When they originally arrived, Jan was determined to continue her exercise routine. While the gym she originally joined didn’t offer Pedaling for Parkinson’s, she was soon drawn to the YMCA of Sebring where she met Health and Wellness Director Dimitri Baussan along with several other employees who were interested in helping bring the program to their YMCA. I was able to get in touch with Dimitri who shared, “She [Jan] is the reason I started Pedaling for Parkinson’s at our Y. Her drive, perseverance, and dedication that she puts into helping people with Parkinson’s is really extraordinary. She is an inspiration and a model to follow.”

After instructors received the proper training, Pedaling for Parkinson’s was able to be offered and Jan was able to attend her preferred exercise class and experience consistent community once again.

In a serendipitous conversation, Jan ended up giving an interview with a local newspaper, which led to substantial growth in the Pedaling program at the YMCA of Sebring.

The Community
During her time in Sebring, Jan felt committed to the class not just because of the health benefits, but also because of the part she had played to help get the group started. Pedaling for Parkinson’s and the Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s class Jan attends both offer her a reliable community connection.

In both classes, Jan shared, “We all have one thing in common – we all have Parkinson’s. In a way, we’re a support group for each other.” Similar to the natural community that forms in many of our group fitness classes at the YMCA, friendships develop, and exercising together becomes less of a chore and more of a social engagement with the benefit of health and exercise.

Jan’s Kishwaukee Family YMCA group has gotten together regularly for coffee at a member’s home to share stories and spend time getting to know one another outside of Pedaling for Parkinson’s. This is something she has found in all three local exercise classes she attends—Pedaling for Parkinson’s, Silver Sneakers, and Rock Steady Boxing.

It’s inspiring to hear about an experience like Jan’s where dedicated exercise has led to such tangible results. When I asked what Jan would like to share, she said “The programs here really work!” Obviously we can look at the data from her Movement Disorder Specialist to prove it, but from my perspective, her enthusiasm for the program and the people she exercises with speaks even more loudly. For Jan, exercise is something that allows her to keep an active lifestyle and have support around living with Parkinson’s.

If you or someone you know would benefit from Pedaling for Parkinson’s, please don’t hesitate to contact our YMCA at 815-756-9577 for more information. This program is free to the entire community with a doctor’s note.

Perhaps there’s a group fitness class at the Y you’ve thought about but haven’t tried. Maybe now would be a great time to get started! Take a page out of Jan’s book and seize the opportunity to discover community support along with exercise encouragement! We hope to see you active at the Y soon.

Date posted: June 27, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Y Stories

Categories: News


DeKalb County, IL, 5-9-23 – Cindy Minnihan of Women Supporting Faith Based Organizations delivered a check for $3,700 to the Livestrong program at the Kishwaukee Family YMCA this Tuesday.

YMCA Livestrong instructors Laurie Gilbert and Amanda Peck attended the April Women Supporting Faith Based Organizations meeting and presented on the benefits and offerings of the Livestrong program at the Kishwaukee Family YMCA. The group makes a quarterly selection of which organization to donate to, and the Livestrong program was chosen to be the recipient!

Livestrong at the YMCA is a FREE 12-week program for adult cancer survivors that supports them in increasing their physical activity. Participants connect with their peers and journey throughout the program by trying a variety of exercises that are offered on a regular basis at the Y. Livestrong at the YMCA is supported through charitable donations.

About Women Supporting Faith-Based Organizations: Women Supporting Faith-Based Organizations is a group of women interested in positively impacting and supporting the local faith-based nonprofit organizations in DeKalb County. At each quarterly WSFBO meeting, a representative from three faith-based organizations presents information about his/her organization to the group. Each representative is given 5 minutes followed by a brief question and answer period. After this time, a vote is taken, and the organization that receives the most votes receives the funds. Each woman writes a check to the organization for $100. The checks are then presented to the organization. This is such an easy way to support our faith-based organizations, many of which are struggling financially.

About the Kishwaukee Family YMCA: Driven by its founding mission, the Y has served as a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community. The Y empowers everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from, by ensuring access to resources, relationships, and opportunities for all to learn, grow and thrive. By bringing together people from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations, the Y’s goal is to improve overall health and well-being, ignite youth empowerment and demonstrate the importance of connections in DeKalb County.

Date posted: May 12, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on $3,700 to Livestrong from Women Supporting Faith Based Organizations

Categories: News