YMCA and Freedom Center Partner to Provide Access to Adaptive Healthy Living Program 

Freedom Center receives NiCIP Grant to offer adapted Enhanced® Fitness program

FREDERICK, MD – The YMCA of Frederick County and The Freedom Center will be partnering to offer an adapted Enhanced® Fitness program to individuals with disabilities.

The Maryland Department of Health recently awarded the Freedom Center, in collaboration with the YMCA of Frederick County, a grant to provide individuals with disabilities access to an adaptive Enhanced® Fitness program at the YMCA.

Freedom Center in Frederick MarylandThe Freedom Center is a consumer-controlled, community-based nonprofit organization committed to providing a wide array of services to assist individuals with disabilities in living independently, pursuing meaningful goals, and having the same opportunities and choices as all persons. 

“We are excited to partner with the YMCA of Frederick County to offer this adaptive fitness program. Physical activity and the opportunity to come together in the community are critical to overall physical and mental wellbeing. This partnership provides persons with disabilities opportunities for both.” – Dave Drezner, Executive Director, The Freedom Center.

Enhanced® Fitness is a well-researched fitness program whose results have been published in more than 65 peer-reviewed journal articles. For this program, there will be two primary objectives, increased physical activity and lower rates of depression. A previous study found that rates of depression among Enhanced® Fitness program participants fell from 28% at the time of enrollment to 17% at the one-year follow-up. Similarly, the percentage of physically inactive participants decreased from 56% to 38%. 

To evaluate the success of the program, the YMCA instructors will conduct two surveys – one at the time of enrollment and another at the program’s completion to measure the primary objectives of the adapted Enhanced® Fitness program.

The primary objectives of the adapted Enhanced® Fitness program include:

  1. Creating and mobilizing an inclusive coalition to reduce health disparities among people with disabilities.
  2. Promoting inclusion and accessibility in public health programs serving individuals with disabilities in Frederick and Carroll Counties.
  3. Implementing the YMCA’s Enhanced® Fitness program, an evidence-based health program adapted to be inclusive for people with disabilities, ensuring that everyone can take advantage of the program with reasonable accommodations.
  4. Demonstrating improved rates of self-reported physical activity scores and decreased rates of depression among program participants.

“Enhanced® Fitness, although initially designed for those with arthritis, is a great program for Freedom Center participants because it offers physical accommodations such as options for both seated and standing exercises. It also provides an opportunity to get comfortable with the social aspect of group fitness classes in a controlled environment,” says Jaime Fisher, YMCA Group Fitness Coordinator.

Y staff member and blind person using stretch bandThe adapted Enhanced® Fitness Program will consist of two sessions; November 17, 2021-February 15, 2022, and February 15-June 30, 2022. The goal is to recruit 50 participants: 25 participants per session. Throughout these two sessions, YMCA instructors will be conducting participant surveys and submitting interim progress reports to evaluate the program. 

“We are excited to provide practical steps for persons with disabilities who, due to the pandemic, may have been unable to stay in shape. Partnering with the YMCA was an obvious choice, and we can’t wait to provide more healthy living opportunities in a safe community environment for those all too often forgotten about,” says Mike Greenberg, Project Lead and Director of Development at The Freedom Center.

To sign up for this program, please contact the Freedom Center at 301-846-7811 or online at https://thefreedomcenter-md.org/contact-us!


About the Y: The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Y’s engage 21 million men, women, and children – regardless of age, income, or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 100,000 communities, the Y has long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but also to deliver lasting personal and social change.