Thomas speaks to Kiwanians


SIDNEY — Ed Thomas, executive director of the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA, and Abbey Bensman, a registered dietitian who leads the YMCA’s diabetes-prevention program, discussed projects and history of the organization as guest speakers at the July 15 meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Sidney.

Bensman said two classes have completed the diabetes-prevention program. Each class lasts about a year. The group meets weekly at the beginning and then once a month. There are a total of 19 one-hour sessions. The program is open to anyone who is 18 or older and has signs of being prediabetic. A YMCA membership is not required. The next class will start in September.

In the United States, it is estimated that there are 29 million people with diabetes and another 86 million that are prediabetic. Of this number, only about 11 percent of the people realize they have this condition, she said.

Thomas then gave a brief history of the YMCA. It started in London, England, in 1844. Ys first appeared in the U.S. around 1850. The Sidney-Shelby County YMCA started in 1968 and the current facility was built in 1973.

The local Y now has a reciprocity agreement with all of the Ys in Ohio. If someone has a local membership, he can use any of the more than 150 YMCAs in Ohio. More than $70,000 in new fitness equipment was installed at the beginning of the year here.

Prior to speakers’ remarks, President John Coffield called the meeting to order. Ralph Bornhorst gave the invocation and the group was led in song by Bornhorst and accompanied by DiAnne Karas on the piano. Coffield led the Fun & Games activities, which consisted of trivia questions about the history of the events on July 15.

The club is also planning a joint service club meeting with the Rotary Club on Oct. 6. Representative Jim Jordan will be the speaker.

Coffield reported that the Imagination Library has exceeded early goals. There are close to 1,200 children under 5 now enrolled. This is about 35 percent of those eligible. This has be accomplished in four months and it normally takes two years. Next year at this time, more than 15,000 books will have been mailed to children in Shelby County. The Sidney Kiwanis is a partner in the Imagination Library project.

Coffield reported that he had met with Jessica Guillozet to discuss starting a local Aktion Club. An Aktion Club is a Kiwanis-sponsored organization for people with developmental disabilities.

Staff report

This article was submitted by the Kiwanis Club of Sidney.

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