WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently renewed a nationwide partnership with Y-USA that focuses on whole health to enhance services available that promote the health and well-being of Veterans, their families and caregivers.
In the next phase of the partnership, renewed Oct. 1, VA and YMCA of the USA — the national entity that oversees YMCA facilities across the country — will share ideas and success stories to expand the program at the local level.
“This partnership will bring together local YMCAs’ expertise in strengthening the community through healthy living and social responsibility with VA’s highest health care standards for Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Partnerships provide opportunities for physical fitness, social integration and community service that address what Veterans are seeking.”
VA, Vet Centers and local YMCAs are working together to increase awareness about YMCA programs — including community events, whole-health groups, Veterans benefits and services clinics, and youth activities — by creating a toolkit of best practices and resources for local YMCAs.
The partners will also develop a pilot collaboration program between local YMCAs and Mobile Vet Centers and community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and mental health services. VA will support and encourage its local and national offices and medical facilities to enter into agreements with YMCAs to provide programming and services targeting the Veteran population.
Y-USA will share information, resources and spaces such as meeting rooms with VA to facilitate Veteran outreach events and services outside of VA facilities. Y-USA will also work to integrate Veterans and their families into social, volunteer and mentorship programs.
This partnership is coordinated through the Veterans Health Administration, (VHA) Office of Community Engagement (OCE), a trusted resource and a catalyst for collaboration at the national, state and community levels. Partnershipscoordinated by OCE support VHA’s commitment to delivering personalized, proactive, patient-driven health care.