Monday, August 19, 2013

The G-Next Program

The Y is proud to take part in the G-Next program. G-Next is an innovative literacy program designed to help teen girls start on the path towards financial independence, as well as physical and emotional well-being. 
Led by a professional serving as a mentor and a role model, groups of 15-20 girls meet with their peers weekly during the school year. These young women have the chance to discuss some of the difficulties of their adolescent and teenage years in a safe space.  G-Next members participate in a web-based game to complete missions through community- based activities and share experiences with their group.  

The Y recently participated in this year's G-Next award ceremony. The G-Next group from the Y joined other groups from around the city to meet each other, share stories, and celebrate with an award ceremony.

Read more about G-Next on there website at . For more information about how you can participate or get involved with G-Next at the Y, contact Abraham at

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Laugh a little!

Have you heard about our Laughter Yoga program? Hear more about it from our very own instructor and guest blogger Francine Shore!

Let’s Unearth our Mirth!
Have no fear… your Laughter Stylist is here.
As a devoted Laughter Yoga Coach and Geriatric Counselor for over 10 years, I have developed creative and compassionate avenues for gen xers, baby boomers and older adults in expressing themselves. Aside from my individual coaching and counseling, my laughter groups are designed to teach us to unleash our own joyful spirit and sense of play, giving us permission to laugh in the face of adversity, trust your instincts and to be downright silly. Life can become challenging as an older adult, and aside from the good news and the milestone celebrations, there are many losses and age related illnesses that older adults face.

Laughter Yoga was created in the mid 1990’s by Dr. Madan Kataria in Mumbai, India. He was looking for a way to stave his patients off of their medications. Remembering the old adage that “laughter is the best medicine”, he started a laughter club. The club grew, but he found humor was subjective, and therefore developed his therapy into non-humor dependent. Hence, laughter yoga was born.
Ten years ago, I ran a Care -giving Program for Caregivers at The Educational Alliance. It was there that I started the first weekly laughter yoga club for seniors in the USA and had an opportunity to present Laughter Yoga in Washington DC at the ASA Conference on Aging for the first time. Prior to becoming a Laughter Yoga Coach and Counselor, I worked for 8 years in the entertainment industry as a Talent Agent and in Casting. My experience working with many comedians and actors, as well as a geriatric counselor have both given me the perfect platform as a Laughter Yoga professional.
You can imagine how delighted I was when I received a call from Patti asking me to start a weekly Laughter Yoga Club at the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood, an area so rich in culture and diversity.
Laughter Yoga is the latest cardiovascular fitness craze which anybody at any age can participate. It involves laughter exercises with movement or while seated, intermittent deep breathing and stretching, and playful clapping to stimulate our circulation. We close with a seated laughter meditation and healing circle, and we may pick a topic to discuss.
Laughter Yoga’s health perks: strengthens the immune system, releases endorphins, decreases depression and anxiety, lowers blood pressure, enhances creativity, natural pain analgesic, alleviates asthma and arthritis, burns calories, deep connectivity factor.
Group members have reported the following: sense of empowerment, less stressed, fewer aches and pains, less depressed and anxious, more hopeful, feeling connected, sense of joy, happiness, calming factor, living in the present, less angry, feeling centered. With testimonials as these, who needs enemies :)
Come down to the laughter club and experience Laughter Yoga yourself. You can’t miss us, we’ll be roaring with laughter!
-Francine Shore, Laughter Yoga instructor at the Y