In April 2017, Marcfirst began its partnership with Carle Health & Fitness Center (formerly Advocate BroMenn Health & Fitness Center) and the Carle Foundation. This partnership provides gym memberships and fitness center support services for Marcfirst staff and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities supported by Marcfirst.
After the 1-year pilot program, funding to maintain the gym memberships was provided through a grant by the 377 Board of the McLean County Health Department. Through this program, the cost of health assessments, customized training plans, and guidance for 20 adults with disabilities are covered by the McLean County 377 Board. The Carle Charitable Foundation has covered four additional adults with disabilities and approximately 17 Marcfirst staff members.
In addition to people going to the gym to do their personal workouts, two groups of people go to the gym on Monday and Friday mornings for Aqua Zumba. Virtual workouts led by a fitness center coach twice a week were added during the pandemic and continue once a week. The Marcfirst Wellness Coordinator and Wellness Assistant coordinate most gym visits with the goal of people getting to the center 6-8 times per month. Every quarter, biometric assessments are completed with Fitness Center Coaches. Waist circumference, resting heart rate, and blood pressures are measured.
Each participant works alongside a personal trainer and is given an exercise prescription after going over health histories, screenings, and discussing fitness goals. All exercise prescriptions are different, based on what the person is interested in and specific health needs. The best exercise is the exercise the person will do and is happy doing!
Thank you, Carle Health & Fitness Center, 377 Board, and McLean County Health Department. We are so grateful for this amazing opportunity!
“I like doing chair yoga at the gym because it helps me calm down, and I like to end the session by saying “Namaste.” I really like swimming, too, because I get to get a work out in while having a lot of fun with my friends and staff!”
- Sarah S
“I love going swimming at the gym! I have had some scary medical issues in the swimming pool, but it never stops me from going back because I know the staff will always be there to help me and swimming is one of my favorite things.”
“My favorite part about going to the gym is swimming every Monday. I really like the coaches, too. They gave me the nickname wing king!”
“We are so fortunate to have been selected to be a partner and provide services to Marcfirst residents. This opportunity allows us to provide services that will truly affect the health and wellness of a special group of individuals in our community.”
- Catherine Porter, Carle Health & Fitness Center Executive Director
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