For A Better Us

December 8, 2019

Welcoming All at the New American Welcome Center

The Y has a long history of welcoming and engaging immigrants – from launching the nation’s first English as a Second Language class in 1856 to providing aid to thousands of new arrivals at Ellis and Angel Islands in the early 1900s.

We believed then as we do now, that offering our newest neighbors the support and care to thrive creates stronger, more connected communities for all.

Our commitment is evident every day at the New American Welcome Center at the duPont YMCA campus.

The Y has a long history of welcoming and engaging immigrants – from launching the nation’s first English as a Second Language class in 1856 to providing aid to thousands of new arrivals at Ellis and Angel Islands in the early 1900s. We believed then as we do now, that…


December 8, 2019

Member Spotlight: Mike Freed

Running is more than just a workout for Williams Family YMCA member Mike Freed. Watch how his strides are making a big impact for the First Coast.

Running is more than just a workout for Williams Family YMCA member Mike Freed. Watch how his strides are making a big impact for the First Coast.


September 21, 2018

Remembering James H. Winston

James H. Winston, one of the First Coast YMCA’s most passionate supporters, passed away Wednesday, September 19.

Mr. Winston cared deeply for both the Y and the city. He really understood the impact the Y has on the community. That’s what drove his involvement in the Y’s important work for more than 50 years.

“How incredibly fitting that Jim’s name graces the Winston Family YMCA, a place that’s welcoming to all and serves as a shining example of the good that can happen when a community comes together, said Eric K. Mann, First Coast YMCA President and CEO.

“His YMCA family will certainly miss him, but every day we will honor his legacy through the lives we transform in Jacksonville and across the First Coast.”

James H. Winston, one of the First Coast YMCA’s most passionate supporters, passed away Wednesday, September 19. Mr. Winston cared deeply for both the Y and the city. He really understood the impact the Y has on the community. That’s what drove his involvement in the Y’s important work for more…


August 16, 2018

Taking Control

Norma had already lost her mother and brother to type 2 diabetes, so when she got an alarming diagnosis from her doctor, she knew she had to do whatever she could to keep her health from getting worse.

After struggling with weight all her life, Norma Davis learned this past year that she was pre-diabetic. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. The condition often leads to type 2 diabetes, unless steps are taken to prevent it.

“When the doctor told me I was border diabetic, that was a red flag,” Norma said. “It got scary so I said ‘NO, I can’t do this. I have grand-babies and a husband.’ It can cut my life span, it can keep me from being mobile, it can cause me blindness and amputation. I really just put a foot forward and told myself that I was going to get through this.”

The First Step

That’s when Norma joined the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program at the Johnson Family YMCA. The program, which is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program, is geared towards helping those who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, or believe they may be at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This program is designed to help people adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle changes over the course of one year.

Developing Healthy Habits

Norma says the program has helped her meet her goals and also provided the comfort and support she needs to keep fighting for her health. “Everything is coordinated as far as having support. Even the mentality alone, you get the fortitude to say ‘I am going to make it, I am going to do this’, once I changed my lifestyle, I felt good- mentally and physically,” said Norma.

Meeting Goals

The goals of the program are to reduce body weight by 7 percent and increase physical activity to 150 minutes per week. Norma has lost more than 25 pounds since she started the program. She says that the program’s group setting helped her maintain her motivation and inspiration thanks to the support it provides.

Staying On Track

“It helps when you can get together and hear about everyone’s achievements and the goals they have met, it keeps you motivated to meet your own goals,” Norma said. I would have never thought that just a group and positivity would put me in a path that would get me to where I am today.”

Norma Davis took control of her pre-diabetes and she says she will keep taking control for the rest of her life. Her goal is to motivate others that are going through similar struggles with the message that “you can choose to live healthy and be healthy.”

Lisa Peacock, Director of Healthy Living Innovations: Chronic Disease Prevention, is currently planning fall sessions of the Diabetes Prevention Program. Contact her at 904.265.1810 or lpeacock@fcymca.org for more information.

To qualify for the Diabetes Prevention Program, participants must be 18 or older, overweight/obese (having Body Mass Index greater than 25) and at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, or have been diagnosed with prediabetes.

Watch Norma’s story and learn more about the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

Norma had already lost her mother and brother to type 2 diabetes, so when she got an alarming diagnosis from her doctor, she knew she had to do whatever she could to keep her health from getting worse. After struggling with weight all her life, Norma Davis learned this past…


March 20, 2018

My Y Story | Ethan Hawke

Everyone loves to play basketball at the Y, including long-time Y member Ethan Hawke, but there are plenty of other programs to try at the Y. Watch Ethan try something new.

Everyone loves to play basketball at the Y, including long-time Y member Ethan Hawke, but there are plenty of other programs to try at the Y. Watch Ethan try something new.


March 6, 2018

My Y Story | Marcus Samuelsson

As a volunteer at the Harlem YMCA in New York, Marcus Samuelsson gives back to his community by teaching kids how to cook and then sharing a meal with their parents.

As a volunteer at the Harlem YMCA in New York, Marcus Samuelsson gives back to his community by teaching kids how to cook and then sharing a meal with their parents.


March 3, 2018

Celebrate Life 5K

Murphy Nmezi wins first place in the 13th running of the Johnson Family YMCA Celebrate Life 5K. The annual events brings the community together for a day of fellowship, health fair, fun and the opportunity to get fit together.

Murphy Nmezi wins first place in the 13th running of the Johnson Family YMCA Celebrate Life 5K. The annual events brings the community together for a day of fellowship, health fair, fun and the opportunity to get fit together.


March 2, 2018

Ray of Hope

Raymond McFarlane came to the Winston Family YMCA after he nearly died in a car crash. Doctors told him he may need a wheelchair for the rest of his life, but through our Adaptive Wellness partnership with Brooks Rehabilitation, Raymond is proving them wrong.

Raymond McFarlane came to the Winston Family YMCA after he nearly died in a car crash. Doctors told him he may need a wheelchair for the rest of his life, but through our Adaptive Wellness partnership with Brooks Rehabilitation, Raymond is proving them wrong.


February 20, 2018

My Y Story | Allyson Felix

Using her running career to pique their interest in STEM, Olympic gold medalist and Y youth participant Allyson Felix leads a hands-on experiment with Y kids from the Crenshaw Family YMCA in Los Angeles, CA.

Using her running career to pique their interest in STEM, Olympic gold medalist and Y youth participant Allyson Felix leads a hands-on experiment with Y kids from the Crenshaw Family YMCA in Los Angeles, CA.


December 18, 2017

You Shop, Amazon Gives

Give and Give Some More with Amazon Smile

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast every time you shop, at no extra cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com. On your first visit, you’ll be asked to select a charity. Please enter YMCA of Florida’s First Coast in the search field. That’s all there is to it! Now a percent of every eligible purchase will go to help our YMCA programs. Thank you!

Which products on AmazonSmile are eligible?

Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages.

Can I use my existing Amazon.com account on AmazonSmile?

Yes, you use the same account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

Give and Give Some More with Amazon Smile AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast every time you shop, at no extra cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and…