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Earth Day! What is it? When did it begin? What do we do on Earth Day?

Earth Day is a movement that inspires, challenges ideas, ignites passion and hopefully motivates people to action. It began in 1970, 46 years ago, and was a movement that gave voice to an emerging consciousness, channeling human energy toward environmental issues. Earth Day is more than just a single day – April 22, 2016- it’s every day.  
Last year a group of 195 nations reached a landmark climate agreement at the Paris Summit on Climate. “This agreement sends a powerful signal that the world is fully committed to a low-carbon future,” said President Obama. “We’ve shown that the world has both the will and the ability to take on this challenge.” Scientists and leaders said the talks here represented the world’s last, best hope of striking a deal that would begin to avert the most devastating effects of a warming planet.
David Suzuki, probably Canada’s best known environmentalist, offers tips of what each and every one of us can do at home and at the Y to help our environment.Following are a few of those tips:
•Set ‘double-sided as the default setting on your printer
•Go electronic instead of using hard copies: phone and email, use overheads and power point presentations, get e-subscriptions, and use web resources
•Use a Y water bottle
•Walk or cycle to work
•Take public transportation
•If you’re not using it, turn it off
•Take the stairs instead of the elevator
•Add plants to your workspace – they filter the air
And so it begins….right now…right here….let’s make things happen. Talk about it…change begins with conversation. Read about it and take action!!!! Small steps by every one of us are the path to living more sustainable. 

Children are the Future

Delicious and Healthy Food for your Child (Part 3)

“It’s just been so great!”

With a passion for non-profits, Matthew has been working at the UCC Flex Child Care Centre for a year. Believing that children are the future, Matthew’s passion shines through from the child to the parent and the staff. He is a firm believer in education and as such, wishes to educate others on the importance of nutrition. Parents as well as caregivers play a key role in making healthy choices for children but also teaching children to make healthy choices for themselves. Learning healthy habits at a young age can reap benefits for a lifetime. Letting your child help in the selection of healthy foods and in the preparation of them can prove to be a fun family time.

As an example of Matthew’s belief and commitment to educating others on the value of nutrition, he is already scheduled to speak at two conferences in 2016. Not bad considering it’s only early March!

Healthy snacks Matthew serves and you can too

1.  Yummy roasted chickpeas seasoned with salt and vinegar
2.  Fresh spinach dip with sour cream and cheese. Served with whole wheat pita
3.  Carrot, raisin, ginger fruit loaf with blueberries
4.  Pizza fingers made from whole grain, homemade tomato sauce and parmesan with some watermelon as a side
5.  Sundried tomato hummus served with crudité platter (or veggies in kids terms) and bananas

Read Part 1 " I Can't Wait to EAT" here!

Read Part 2 " Anything is possible" here!

To learn more about our Child Care programs visit ymcawo.ca/child-care


Doors Open 

Why? In response to the large wave of new immigrants entering Ontario as part of the Syrian crisis and because it is consistent with the YMCA’s core values.

Sixty percent of the Syrian refugees in London are children under 16 years old and currently living in hotels with their families until appropriate housing can be found.  At the Y they can enjoy healthy activities and meet new friends.  

What? The Y is offering free, 60 day health and fitness memberships to new refugees, government-assisted and privately sponsored, in London and Windsor.  To date we have close to 22 new members at the Y!

VP of Newcomer and Community Services at the Y, Jacquie Rumiel comments one family was so amazed by all the programs at the Y they wished they could take them all!

The Y’s efforts do not stop there. For many refugees entering Canada, not being able to speak English is a critical skill that many struggle with. Hoping to bridge the gap, the Y offers free English speaking classes for adults that range in difficulty, from beginners with no knowledge of the language to classes for advanced English speakers. Approximately 450 adults attend these classes each day.

Teen nights are available for all youth on Friday nights. The Y provides a space for youth to openly talk to each other, foster an understanding of their differences and cultivate new friendships.

AND we have a day program for kids!

Come check us out! Our doors are always open!


“Anything is possible!”

Delicious and healthy lunches for your child

(Part 2)

Food has no age. Whether you are 5 years old or even 80, and no matter where you live in the world, eating is an important part of life for every single person.

The first five years of a child’s life are critical to their development and Y child care centres work tirelessly to provide 75% of a child’s daily nutrition. Matthew is an inspiration, and works to provide top notch nutrition to the children at the Y’s UCC Flex Child Care Centre.

Learning healthy eating at an early age is important, but how you learn these values makes all the difference. Matthew takes joy in introducing healthy eating habits to young children and expanding their pallets as well. Planning a menu can be a challenging endeavor with restrictions such as allergies, but Matthew is a strong believer that if we bring it back to the basics, anything is possible!

Here comes lunch! A child’s love of colour can be seen in many aspects of their life, especially the kitchen. Matthew cleverly cooks vibrant dishes that appeal to the kids’ intrigue of colour and are simple to execute. However, his work does not stop there. Looking to expand the children’s pallets, he ensures the menu is diverse and frequently changing so the children gain an appreciation for a whole assortment of foods.

Matthew and the Early Childhood Educators, teach the children learn how to set a table, serve themselves, put their dishes away, and most importantly say please and thank you for their meal. Often times Matthew chats with the parents and is jokingly told that their kids eat better at the Y, than at home!

Healthy lunches Matthew serves and you can too #2

1.  Here we go! How about honey garlic tofu with choi men noodles and veggies? The children finish this lovely dish with some delicious mango.
2.    Meditterean basa anyone? Matthew spices up the kitchen with a fish coupled with smoked paprika, chili flakes, and served with an Italian blend of vegetables. To complete this delicious meal, nothing goes better than Granny Smith apples. Hungry yet?
3.    Want to put some meat on your menu? Beef stroganoff with egg noodles and vegetables, finished off with an apple. Yum!
4.    Another delicious lunch? White bean rague with tomato broccoli and an herb scone, served with a fruit medley of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
5.    One last idea to share today is a cauliflower chickpea curry and quinoa, finished off with your choice of honey dew melon or cantaloupe.

Want to know more about these delicious lunches? Contact us and start cooking today!

Read Part 1 " I Can't Wait to EAT" here!


Top 5 Fitness Tips with Danielle

Do you believe it’s already February? Did you achieve your New Year’s resolution (or are you still trying)?

With fast paced lives how do we get on track? How do we make realistic, achievable goals and resolutions that we can be proud of?

Here are 5 must do’s to getting back in the gym and on your way to meeting those resolutions:

1. Have a plan
The gym is a fast paced, intimidating place for the majority of us. Walking in for a workout with no plan of action is a recipe for disaster. Look at your goals and program your workouts in advance based on those goals. Walk onto that fitness floor focused and ready to accomplish exactly what you came there to do!

2. Constantly Varied
A workout routine that is constantly varied and full of function movements is sure to get you the results you are looking for.Not only will you never be bored but your body will always be challenged resulting in that change you are looking for.

3. Lift Heavy
Working out is hard stuff.If you are putting in the time, make sure you are putting in the work! You may have been told that cardio is the ultimate fat burner, but that effect stops the minute you hop off the treadmill. Build more muscle and you'll keep your body burning fat all day long. Love the look of lean, defined muscles? You should lift heavier! Women worried about bulking up need not worry. Due to low testosterone levels, women cannot get huge so, lifting heavier has the potential to make women more defined.

4. Eat Clean
All that work in the gym needs to be followed up with proper nutrition to fuel your body through those workouts. With so many diets and quick fixes out there these days food has become so complicated. Keep it simple and listen to your body. If you are hungry, eat but make sure you are eating the proper things. Lean proteins, fruits, veggies and healthy fats are what you need. Stay away from processed and packaged foods and try to keep things fresh and seasonal.

5. Do what works for you
Look at the goals you laid out at the beginning of this process. Now that you have a plan that is constantly varied make sure that it works for you. Have some fun adding in a new class if that gets you pumped up. If you are limited on time don’t set yourself the unrealistic goal of working out six days a week. Make the most of the time you have and figure out a strategy that works for you. Working out should be fun and you should be excited to work towards achieving those goals you set out for yourself. 

So get in the gym, with your constantly varied, challenging workout plan in hand and start crushing those resolutions you have always wanted to cross off your list.

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