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Premier’s Active April at the YMCA

26 Apr 2016

Premier’s Active April at the YMCA Image

By Jack Hayes

April emerged as a huge month for YMCA Docklands, with the gym celebrating both National Autism Awareness Month and the Premier’s Active April Campaign.

The program ran over two weeks with sessions covering exercise, nutrition and wellbeing tips for students from Jacana School for Autism.

YMCA “Future Leader”, Matt D’Arcy volunteered his time to head the sessions – running the excited students through a host of exercises throughout the gym.

Premier’s Active April encourages all Victorians to do 30 minutes of physical activity a day during April, something Jacana School for Austism teacher Matt Wilson said was incredibly difficult to ensure amongst his students.

“At our school, and at a lot of other special schools, there are a high percentage of students who are overweight or obese,” Mr Wilson said.

“We talk to students about nutrition and fitness quite a bit, but sometimes it struggles to sink in. So that’s why it is great to have another person, who they seem to really look up to, reiterating the same points.”

“A lot of the students tend to prefer video games over physical exercise, so what we are trying to do is integrate the two. In the breaks of games we try get them to do push ups or sit ups.”

The community encouragement and support of disadvantaged groups is something starkly evident at YMCA Docklands.

The centre facilitates a number of programs assisting disabled, homeless and previously incarcerated people – something manager Andrew Ward is very proud of.

“We really pride ourselves on our community involvement. Particularly with our position in the city, it is really important to provide as much support for people of disadvantage as possible,” Mr Ward said.

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