Mental Health America of Boone County is partnering with the Witham YMCA to offer YMCA memberships to survivors of domestic violence.

“You don’t want someone a little bit healthy,” executive director of Mental Health America of Boone County, Pascal Fettig said. “You want whole health. We thought this was a great way to empower survivors to get their body in shape and to help with physical and mental health.”

Survivors must meet qualifications for the program through MHA of Boone County, Fettig said. Current funds raised through YMCA and MHA of Boone County allow for covering 80 individual and 60 household memberships.

“YMCA and MHA care about the same goals (health),” Fettig said. “This collaboration is to provide services to people in need. These are strong women (survivors), the strength it takes to live through it. This (YMCA memberships) will enhance their ability to survive.”

Fettig said there are men survivors as well, but far fewer, because they seldom seek his help.

“We are creating an avenue to get back to what they (survivors) deserve,” Fettig said. “They matter. Their children matter. We all matter. The only way for this (membership program) to be accessible is through this partnership.”

Some survivors come to MHA of Boone County with nothing, Fettig said.

“The survivors are thinking about filling their kids’ needs and their basic needs,” Katie Pollock, attorney for MHA of Boone County, said. “They don’t think about a healthy lifestyle. Their focus is not there.”

MHA of Boone County contacted Witham to make this partnership a reality, Kim Newman, executive director at Witham YMCA, said.

“We jumped on it,” Newman said. “With the memberships, they will be able to see people, meet friends and have accountability. We offer individual and household memberships and things to do as a family. They will have all the amenities that all members have.”

Some amenities include a pool, gym time, group classes, wellness advisers, and more, Newman said. The memberships will last three months and then will be evaluated.

“We will check their scans,” Newman said. “We don’t want to give memberships to someone who is not using it when others are waiting for it.”

The program is expected to begin Jan. 1. For more information or to find out qualifications, survivors should contact MHA of Boone County at 765-482-3020 or visit http://www.mhaboonecounty.org/. Donations for the program are also accepted by contacting MHA of Boone County.

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