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The Granite YMCA, established in 1854, is part of the worldwide nonprofit Y organization. With branches in Manchester, Goffstown, Londonderry, Portsmouth and Rochester, it focuses on youth development, healthy living, family strengthening and social responsibility.
As The Granite YMCA’s association director of Healthy Living Initiatives, Cindy Lafond helps individuals reach their wellness potential with the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program and many other programs. Patch caught up with Lafond to learn more about The Granite YMCA, as well as her 30-plus years of wellness experience.
Patch: How long has the organization you represent been around in the community?
Lafond: Established in 1854, The Granite YMCA is part of the worldwide nonprofit Y organization. The Granite YMCA is part of the state’s safety net in support of those less fortunate. In 2019, we were proud to provide financial aid and/or free services valued at $1.6 million to more than 26,189 individuals across New Hampshire. This outreach included a sliding scale fee structure for programs and services, free use of facilities to a broad range of nonprofits, camp scholarships and reduced-fee or free child care services.
Patch: What attracted you to the line of work you’re in, and how did you get started?
Lafond: I have always had a passion for wellness. I enjoy sharing this passion and helping to cultivate it in others. I especially love the “lightbulb” moments people experience when they realize that wellness isn’t just about being thinner or running faster, but that it encompasses the whole body. I started at the YWCA here in Manchester in 1986 and then continued on my career path here at The Granite Y when the YWCA closed its wellness programs in 1994. I now lead Healthy Living Initiatives at The Granite Y.
Patch: If you had to sum up your business mission to a stranger in five words, what would those words be?
Lafond: Commitment, Honesty, Caring, Respect and Responsibility.
Patch: What’s the biggest challenge or most difficult moment you’ve faced in your job?
Lafond: My biggest challenge is lack of awareness from doctors, most of whom are unaware that YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is proven to reduce the risk of getting diabetes.
Patch: What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Lafond: I love being able to help people realize their full potential — that they in fact have the ability to influence how they feel daily. For some, this means that all they do that day is make it in the front door of the gym, taking a step in the direction of wellness.
Patch: How would you say your organization distinguishes itself from the others?
Lafond: The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program teaches participants the skills they need to live a healthy life — and maintain that healthy lifestyle over time.
Patch: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given when it comes to success?
Lafond: “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.” – Oprah Winfrey
Patch: Are there any new projects or endeavors you’re working on that you’re extra excited about?
Lafond: Yes! We expanded to virtual online programs to remove the barriers of time and travel. Now people throughout New Hampshire can participate wherever they live.
Patch: Do you have any events coming up in your community?
Lafond: The Granite YMCA has Diabetes Prevention Programs starting at different times throughout the year, in both English and other languages including Spanish. Call me at 603-232-8668 to learn about one for you.
Patch: How can Patch readers learn more about your work and business?
Lafond: You can learn about the program on our website. Call me at 603-232-8668 for more info and to sign up for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program near you.
Patch: Anything else you’d like to share?
Lafond: We’ve helped thousands of people at 200 Y locations in 40 states reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Don’t go it alone. Let us help you gain the lifestyle skills you need and deserve to redefine your life. Call me at 603-232-8668 for more info and to sign up for a program in your area.
More About Cindy Lafond
As The Granite YMCA’s association director of Healthy Living Initiatives, Cindy Lafond helps individuals reach their wellness potential with diabetes prevention and other programs. She works with many people, ages and organizations throughout Manchester and the state of New Hampshire. Cindy has more than 30 years of wellness experience and holds certifications in diabetes prevention, group exercise, LIVESTRONG at the Y, Cancer Exercise and Fitness Specialist, and 500-hour Yoga instructor.