Latino man receives documents at the Y

YMCAs in the western part of the state are working with each other and community partners to better serve the region’s Latinx residents. 

The YMCA of Western North Carolina (WNC) began partnering with Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) in 2018 to present the Minority Diabetes Prevention Program in Spanish. During the pandemic, classes went online and continued to grow in popularity. To date, 154 Spanish speakers have enrolled in the program. 

Last fall one of the program’s instructors helped the Mexican Consulate in Raleigh arrange an event at Asheville’s Reuter Family YMCA that assisted 638 people with passports, identification, birth certificates, and other documentation. They also gave flu shots, did diabetes risk assessments, and tested A1C levels.

COVID-19 Vaccines and More
In February, the Williams YMCA of Avery County and YMCA of WNC launched a partnership with funders Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) and AMY Wellness Foundation to strengthen this outreach work to the Latinx community. Both Ys have hired Latinx community health workers to oversee and guide this work. They coordinate events and outreach with community partners, and they are available to serve as interpreters, provide COVID-19 and vaccine education, access to healthy food, and more. 

LatinX community members at the Williams Y get vaccines and documents

To support these efforts, the Mexican Consulate has returned to the region for several vaccine events this spring. The Williams Y has hosted two events where:

  • a total of 140 people were vaccinated by High Country Community Health,
  • 213 people received passports, five people received birth certificates and
  • 27 people were registered to vote.

BCHHS vaccinated an additional 452 people at events the YMCA of WNC helped organize, and the consulate issued 288 documents. The YMCA of WNC also partnered with the nonprofit Centro Unido Latino Americano (CULA) of McDowell County.

The Williams Y and the YMCA of WNC look forward to continuing this work post-COVID to ensure the Latinx community is receiving much-needed resources to support their health and well-being.

(May 10, 2021)