The group presented the project to the Town of Spruce Pine in September 2020 and given unanimous positive confirmation to proceed with the temporary trail project at Riverside Park and continue ongoing planning, preparations, and fundraising for permanent story trail structures.
Community Outreach Staff
Rosendo Edgardo Lopez-Gale
Community Outreach and Involvement
True to our mission of putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all, each year the YMCA of Avery County, through our Community Outreach Programs, provides community members with YMCA memberships, delivers food boxes and meals to those in need and provides other essential services to those in our community!
What We Do
Our Outreach programs are designed to serve all ages with an emphasis on serving Mitchell and Yancey County Seniors and Hispanic/Latino Families. Our programs include bringing healthy living programs to outreach sites throughout the county, performing home visits to assess daily living needs, delivering hot meals, aiding in helping them maintain their independence to stay in their homes, and gaining access to essential services that are not historically available to the Hispanic/Latino community. We also work closely with our community partners to strengthen the Mitchell County Community. With these partnerships, we have been able to construct and maintain the Riverside Story Trail, assist with youth and health events around the county, and more!
Hispanic/Latino Community Outreach
At the YMCA we are committed to serving everyone in our community! Through the LatinX Community Outreach program, we have been able to connect with more than 2,000 people across Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey Counties over the past three years.
Below is how we connected with and supported the Hispanic/Latino Community in our 3 County Service Area. Stay tuned for updates and new opportunities coming in 2023!
Metele un gol a Covid (Score A Goal Aginst Covid)
Thanks to funding support from the Jarvis Sudden and Urgent Needs grant, we were able to hold 3 different soccer events in the community that featured Covid-19 vaccination and prevention education along with general health information. Vendors from each of the counties were invited to attend any and all of the events to promote their services and connect with the Hispanic/Latino Community. Players came from all over Western North Carolina to participate and have a day of fun with their families!
Food Delivery/ Pick-Up Events
In partnership with Mitchell Giving Gardens, CULA, TRACTOR Food and Farms, and many more the outreach team were able to set up four different events for community members to receive a food bag filled with local produce, dairy, and meat. At the events, attendees learned about the food that was in their bags and how to prepare them using recipes from the area.
Over the year and thanks to our partnership with MAHEC, the YMCA was able to offer 2 Healthy Living events. These events included general health information, prevention/ management of chronic disease education, COVID-19 vaccinations, and the chance to connect with other Community Organizations for assistance with services to improve or maintain their health.
Groups of community members met with the YMCA and partner, PENLAND School of Craft to go hiking in the fall of 2022. These hikes took place once a month from 9 am – 3 pm. Everyone of all ages and skill levels was invited to join in the fun! Rosendo Lopez stared the hikes with a short group conversation around different health topics such as food and nutrition, physical activity, and the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. Due to the cold weather, these hikes will not be offered in the winter. We hope you’ll be able to join us in the Spring of 2023 for more hikes and community connection!
Healthy Opportunities Pilot Program
The Healthy Opportunities Pilot Program (HOP) is a unique program being offered in 18 counties across Western North Carolina and in 15 counties in Eastern North Carolina. HOP delivers whole-person care through coordinated physical health, behavioral health, intellectual/developmental disability, and pharmacy products and care models. It addresses the full set of factors that impact health (both medical and non-medical) and performs localized care management at the site of care, in the home or community. The HOP program is open to most Medicaid-managed care enrollees who meet additional criteria.
For more information about the HOP program please visit the Impact Health website.
The Williams YMCA of Avery County’s Outreach Team works with Impact Health to identify and connect Medicaid patients with services that address the social determinants of health, leading to improved health and wellness for our communities. For services that we do not have the capacity to meet we work with other Human Service and Community Organizations around the area to meet the needs of these patients. Currently, we provide services in the Housing, Food, and Transportation domains. We look forward to offering services in the Interpersonal Safety domain in 2023! To learn about how the YMCA can help you please contact Rosendo Lopez-Gale, LatinX Community Outreach Director, or Stephen Bomar, Director of Healthy Living.
If you believe you are eligible for the Healthy Opportunities Pilot Program please call the number on the back of your Medicaid card to speak with your Care Manager.
|Housing Services||Food Services||Transportation Services||Interpersonal Safety|
|Housing Navigation, Support, and Sustaining Services||Linkages to community-based food resources (e.g., SNAP/WIC application support)||Linkages to existing transportation resources||Case management/advocacy for victims of violence|
|Housing quality and safety inspections and improvements||Nutrition and cooking education||Payment for transportation to support access to pilot services (e.g., bus passes, taxi vouchers, ride-sharing credits||Evidence-based parenting support programs|
|One-time payment for security deposit and first month’s rent||Fruit and vegetable prescriptions and healthy food boxes/meals||Evidence-based home visiting services|
|Short-term post-hospitalization housing||Medically tailored meal delivery|
Riverside Story Trail
Piney the Squirrel was hand made and painted by Penland School Artists and the amazing Story Trail Group!
The project has been awarded 2 grants including locally supported by Run For Holland (featured image) as well as an LSTA grant in partnership with the library system. The project has been given multiple donations including our first audio station, donated by Quartz Corp in their support of the Story Trail.
The team has been able to proceed with Town-Assisted installation for the permanent book stations and first permanent station book: ‘Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon’ for September. They also have a surprise guest recording of the book on our audio station: Dolly Parton!
August - September 2021
In late November the last of the English/Spanish audio stations were installed completing the instillation of the Riverside Story Trail. New books will be rotated in and out throughout the year for continued encouragement of reading and movement!
In May 2022 the Run for Holland Organization hosted their annual 5K and 10K in downtown Spruce Pine. The Story Trail team selected the book “We Move Together” by Kelly Fritsch, Anne McGuire, and Eduardo Trejos to accompany the race. You can read more here.