Y Access

The Y Access program offers YMCA programs and memberships on a case-by-case basis to individuals and families who otherwise would not be able to afford them.

As of October 2015 the YMCA of WNC is offering financial aid to: 125 children in afterschool, 141 in programs such as youth sports and aquatics, and 237 in Project RISE and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Afterschool Child Care

Our afterschool programs provide elementary-aged children with developmentally appropriate activities that provide a combination of individual and group activities based on weekly themes and lesson plans. These programs incorporate the national Healthy Eating and Physical (HEPA) standards, increasing the physical wellbeing of participants and encouraging health-promoting behaviors.

We serve 1000 children daily across 25 childcare sites in Buncombe and McDowell counties, including Project RISE and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Aquatics Programs

Through our aquatics programs, we offer swim lessons for swimmers of all levels and ages, including educational and fun swim lessons for children ages 6 months through 12 years. We also offer Safety Around Water, a 3- to 4-day scholarship-based program for second-grade students to learn water safety when in and around water as well as some basic swim skills. Additionally, we have the Piranhas, our year-round competitive swim team for swimmers age 4-18.

Last year the Piranha Swim Team finished 14th out of 274 teams at the YMCA National Championships. One of our swimmers won 3 individual National Titles. Each Safety Around Water program we host serves 70-90 children in our community. Over the past 5 years we have served over 700 children.

Early Learning Readiness (ELR)

The YMCA’s Early Learning Readiness Program is a free research-based community program that gives children ages 0 to 5 years high-quality physical, emotional, and cognitive experiences. Caregivers are given the confidence, tools, and support they need to be these children’s first teacher, ensuring they start kindergarten ready to learn.

According to YUSA, 83% of caregivers reported that the program helped them prepare children in their care for school success, 86% noted it helped them to play with children in their care in a positive way, and 78% stated they were doing more activities with the children at home as a result of ELR.h


EnhanceFitness is a community-based senior fitness and arthritis management class. The 16-week program meets three times a week for a one-hour class. Each class is taught by a certified instructor and focuses on cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. Exercising with other people in a relaxed atmosphere adds a fun, social element and keeps motivation high.

This is our first year offering the EnhanceFitness program. Results from EnhanceFitness providers nationally show that 53% of participants report a reduction of depression, 35% report improved physical functioning, and, when compared with a control group that did not engage in EnhanceFitness, participants have fewer hospitalizations and a nearly $1000 reduction in medical costs.

Healthy Living Mobile Market

The Healthy Living Mobile Market (HLMM) is a renovated box truck equipped with coolers and heat blankets to hold food, pallets for food distributions, and tables for nutrition education. Since its launch in October 2014, the HLMM has expanded our reach for food distributions, nutrition education, and enrollment in food assistance programs to low-income families.

From October 2014-September 2015, our nutrition programs, of which the HLMM is a part, distributed over 71,317 pounds of food, enough for 59,428 meals.

Healthy Living Mobile Kitchen

The Healthy Living Mobile Kitchen (HLMK) is a converted 72-seat school bus outfitted with seating for 20 adults and a full working kitchen. It serves meals to children in underserved areas, distributes fresh produce to families, and offers nutrition education opportunities.

Since its debut in April 2014, the HLMK as given 50 free cooking demonstrations throughout the region. In the summer of 2015, it distributed 4,237 meals to youth in Asheville public housing communities.

Healthy Living Pantry

Working with MANNA Food Bank, Trader Joe's, and other area partners,  our Healthy Living Pantry emphasizes healthful foods such as fresh produce, whole grains, and lean sources of protein. It is open twice a week and is located at the YMCA Youth Services Center.

The Healthy Living Pantry started in November 2013, serving a handful of families. It now provides food for up to 49 families per week, filling critical gaps for families who struggle with food insecurity.

Healthy Living Community Gardens

Our Healthy Living Community Gardens provide youth life lessons and opportunities to serve their community. The Y is establishing gardens at several Afterschool sites to grow fresh fruits and vegetables for distribution and to help combat hunger and poverty in our community.

Leaders Club

Leaders Club promotes young leaders through volunteerism, advocacy, and character development. Teens in grades 9-12 receive leadership training and learn the importance of social responsibility and service to others.

During the 2014/15 school year, 46 students from Buncomb and Henderson counties completed over 2,235 hours of community service with the YMCA. The students designed and led 48 service projects, partnering with groups such as Habitat for Humanity, Asheville Greenworks, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, and the U.S. Forest Service.


LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is a free 12-week, evidence-based, small-group program for adult cancer survivors who have become deconditioned or chronically fatigued from their disease or treatment. Goals of the program include building muscle mass and strength, increasing flexibility and endurance, and improving functional ability.

Since the program's debut in 2011, 800 participants have taken the steps to reclaim their health and emotional well-being through LIVESTRONG. There is a 98% satisfaction rate among the program's graduates.

Moving for Better Balance

Moving for Better Balance (MFBB) is a free 12-week, 24-session evidence-based falls prevention program. It uses the principles and movements of Tai Chi to help older adults improve their balance and increase their confidence in doing everyday activities.

In 2015 MFBB served approximately 120 seniors. Among other impressive results, participants averaged a 40% increase in performance of the 30-second chair test, a standard balance assessment that measures how often someone is able to rise from a chair--without using his or her arms--in 30 seconds. In addition, 76% reported they had a reduced fear of falling.

Project RISE

Project RISE (Reaching Individual Success through Empowerment) offers free afterschool academic support to underserved youth (grades 4-6) in the Buncombe County School (BCS) district who struggle in school due to limited language abilities, socioeconomic challenges, lack of caretaker attention, or other barriers. The program emphasizes academic support by providing math and literacy tutoring led by certified BCS teachers.

Most recent results show that 80% of participants increased their achievement in school.

Summer Day Camp

At Summer Day Camp, children ages 5-15 have opportunities to make new friends, learn new skills, and explore the world around them. The Y offers camps to fit the needs of families throughout the community.

Of the parents surveyed at the end of the 2015 camp season, 65% said that their children had been encouraged to keep learning during the summer.

Summer Discovery

Summer Discovery is a free seven-week summer learning-loss prevention program targeting economically disadvantaged middle school youth. Students receive academic enrichment through experiential learning focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), literacy, arts and culture, and enriching recreation, all of which align with the NC Common Core and Essential Standards.

The YMCA's Summer Discovery program offers children educational opportunities to prevent the loss of up to two or more months of grade-level equivalency over the summer.

Taking Control of Type 2

Taking Control of Type 2 is a one-year program to improve the health of individuals with type 2 diabetes and lessen their risk of developing complications. It focuses on lifestyle change and uses education to increase participant exercise levels to 150 minutes per week, and decrease participants' A1c levels (average of blood glucose levels used to diagnose type 2 diabetes).

Since the program's debut in August 2013, participants have lost a total of 1575 pounds, average A1c has dropped by 1.8, and resting heart rates have decreased by 5.8%.

Woodfin Recess

Many schools have reduced physical education time in the school day. Y Recess is a free childhood obesity prevention program that provides fun, structured active time during recess and educates youth about nutrition and exercise. The goal is to teach children teamwork, build positive sportsmanship, and encouarage lifelong health and fitness while increasing the amount of physical education that students receive each week during the school day.

Since the beginning of the 2015 school year, the Y has spent over 150 hours enriching the minds and bodies of Woodfin Elementary students through the recess program.

YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is a year-long, community-based program for overweight adults at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The program provides a supportive environment for participants to work together in a small group to learn about eating better and increasing physical activity, both of which help reduce their risk for developing diabetes.

One our of three U.S. adults has prediabetes. Based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health, the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program gives people the resources to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by 58%. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even modest weight loss can decrease a person's risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In 2015, our participants lost a total of 2,510 pounds, equaling a 4.5% weight loss.

Youth Sports

Youth Sports programs honor the core Y values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. We strive to provide a quality experience for players, coaches, and families, and we promote the development of each athlete to reach their highest potential through skill refinement, teamwork, and sportsmanship.

Did you know? We serve over 2,600 athletes yearly, 40% of whom receive some financial assistance.