Local YMCA Offers Free Membership To Unemployed

Decatur County YMCA Hopes Program Beneficial

A central Indiana YMCA is ensuring that those who are out of work can workout for free.

Anyone who can verify that they have lost a job can get a free membership at the Decatur County YMCA, 6News' Ericka Flye reported.

Carolyn Cleland, 72, sees the benefits of working out.

I'm stronger and I feel better," Cleland said. "I play the harp, and I came here to improve my lats so I can practice twice as long. Small victories -- I can open a pickle jar."

Similar to Cleland, most members of the YMCA in Greensburg get a lot for the fees they pay, but the ride will be free for those who can't pay because of job loss.

"(It's) just something to kind of help them. We know it's a stressful time, and there's a lot of tension when you get laid off," said Diane Hart-Dawson, CEO of the Decatur County YMCA.

Hart-Dawson said she hopes the opportunity allows people to strengthen not only their bodies, but also their spirits.

"If you're laid off, a lot of times there could be a little depression there and there's no one to talk to at home and those types of things," she said. "Just to come in and fellowship and network and talk to other people (is beneficial.)"

Decatur County's 12.6 unemployment rate is quite a bit worse than the statewide rate, so the pool of people who could take advantage of the offer is quite large.

Families of unemployed people can also use the YMCA for free. Cleland said she welcomes the company.

"I'm 100 percent in favor of it. I think it's a wonderful thing," she said.

Memberships are free until the unemployed person finds a job, or for up to three months.

The YMCA hopes people like the experience so much that they stay after that and pay the $29.75 monthly fee.

Some YMCA branches in other communities have begun offering a similar program.