This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Living a healthy life isn’t just about being physically fit.

The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina is focused on meeting the needs of today’s communities. Those needs changed in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Y’s network of 13 branches in seven counties worked to provide meals, masks, child care and support for seniors.

Those efforts continued throughout the year.

Kim McClure, Vice President of Youth Development Experience, says being there for families during a tough time was good for the whole community. “We heard wonderful stories from a lot of the essential workers, that, you know ‘you allowed me to continue working at the hospital, or the police department or the grocery store’ – whatever the essential worker was. So without us being able to provide those services, they would not have been able to do their jobs,” McClure said.

Social responsibility is one of the organization’s focus areas.

President and CEO Stan Law says adapting services to be available at churches, community centers and parks will allow staff to meet people where they are.

That’s also the idea behind the new REACH Center in east Winston-Salem.

“The reality is if you look at statistics, if you look at anything related to education or health or employment, parts of our community have more needs than other parts,” Law said.

REACH stands for ‘Resources for Economic development, Academics and Community Health.’ With the help of the Winston-Salem Foundation, the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina will transform the Winston Lake facility to offer free after-school programs and summer camps.

There will also be a health center, classrooms, a food pantry and a teaching kitchen.

Lynn Hairston started using the Y’s services daily again last year, she says because staff encouraged her she now has her license to teach Zumba. “I feel like they pushed me to do what I would have never done on my own. So yeah they are, they’re amazing,” Hairston said.

She’s also met lifelong friends and hopes others will be inspired to give the Y a try. The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina is always looking for volunteers.

You can find more information on how to get involved or how to join at