Though the two operate as separate nonprofit organizations, Church Health and the Church Health YMCA (one of the many branches of the YMCA of Memphis & The Mid-South) have a unique partnership.

Many of Church Health’s patients are eligible for discounted memberships (based on income level) at Church Health YMCA in Crosstown Concourse.

The YMCA offers more comprehensive, state-of-the-art services and equipment than Church Health can alone, along with better prices and expanded accessibility to other Y facilities throughout Shelby County. There is also a solid missional commonality between Church Health and the YMCA.

The goal for our class is to help people have better balance and be able to walk better, whether they’re out in the community, at home, or at work.

The partnership means Church Health’s physical therapists have new tools and more space for working with patients at their disposal. Take, for example, Church Health therapeutic coordinator Stephanie Becton’s Movement and Balance class.

Every Monday and Wednesday morning, Becton’s patients — all of whom struggle with balance, some of whom walk with a cane — meet in the YMCA’s group exercise room to practice mobility exercises.

“The goal for our class is to help people have better balance and be able to walk better, whether they’re out in the community, at home, or at work,” Becton says.

 
 

On a recent Wednesday morning, about 25 people (mostly seniors, but Becton says the class is open to all ages) sit in chairs and chat as they wait for Becton to start the class. A few minutes after 10 am, Becton calls attention to the group with an icebreaker she uses for every class — “Tell me a saying you heard from your grandma.”

A few people speak up with age-old wisdom like, “It’s better to be seen and not viewed” or “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Then Becton asks if anyone has crazy socks they’d like to show off. A few pull up their pant legs to show off their multi-colored footwear.

We are a family. I know each one by name, and we often check on each other’s families. If a person misses class for two days, I will call and find out if they are okay.

After the introductions, Becton leads the class in a series of seated exercises — “Move your head left to right. Shift your weight from side to side.” Eventually, the people who are comfortable with standing exercises get up and practice walking backward, forward, and doing the grapevine.

The class goes on for about 45 minutes, and Becton ends the class with a prayer. Many of her patients hang around after class and catch up on one another’s lives.

“We are a family. I know each one by name, and we often check on each other’s families. If a person misses class for two days, I will call and find out if they are okay,” Becton says. “I just love these people!”