At last March’s Inspire Speakers Series lecture, Amy George (then Amy Piccirilli) from the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh joined us as the local speaker presenting alongside Bob Berkebile. Amy’s presentation made Bradd and I think in a broader sense about the connections between buildings, sustainability, and health (as usual, Jenna was way ahead of us since she had invited Amy to speak in the first place). When we later learned of the Pittsburgh Business Times’ Healthcare Heroes Awards, Bradd and I decided to nominate the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh in the community outreach category… and they won!
We nominated the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh for two key reasons:
- First, for an organization that is dedicated to health and wellness, it was great to learn from Amy that our region’s Y places an added focus on how buildings and spaces impact that health and wellness of its members – children, adults, and seniors alike. Amy is the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh’s Sustainability and Facility Manager- and to our knowledge she’s the first person holding that position at any YMCA across the country. Amy leads the Y’s efforts in ensuring that its buildings adopt the Materials Red List and finding innovative methods for meeting the organization’s unique needs in healthier ways (like a pilot moss filtration system in its swimming pools to reduce chlorine). She also helps facilitate an extensive community garden initiative, increasing access to healthy, fresh, locally grown food around our region.
- We thought this award would be a good opportunity to highlight efforts like those the Y is taking on as a way to shift the traditional conversation on health. Health and well-being are so connected to our indoor environments (for example, we spend 90% of our time indoors, where air quality is typically worse than outside), and we think this is an important message to add to our public consciousness.
The Pittsburgh Business Times held its Healthcare Heroes Award Dinner at the Omni William Penn Hotel. GBA’s Nancy Hart and I attended the dinner so we could see if the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh would be named a winner, and we were so excited that they were! Representing the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh at the ceremony were Amy George (Sustainability and Facility Manager), Deb Moore Ellsworth (Vice President, Marketing and Communications), Diane Dennison (Associate VP, Human Resources and Leadership Development), and Tony Kimbrough (Membership Development Executive).
“The Y would like to point that it’s thanks to the dedication of our volunteers, partners, staff and members that we’re able to continue to focus on what’s really important – improving the health and well-being of our neighbors,” said Amy George. “With their feedback and support, we’ll continue to pursue opportunities to enhance Pittsburgh’s options for healthy living.”
Congratulations again to the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, and let’s keep the conversation going!
Photo credit for this blog’s feature image: Pittsburgh Business Times.