In 2023, we’re talking about the World YMCA Vision 2030.
In our last blog, we discussed the power of education in building opportunities for meaningful work and discovered why this is essential as we work to see every young person’s potential fulfilled.
“By 2030 the YMCA will co-create, provide and advocate for high-quality, relevant and sustainable health and wellbeing solutions to young people and communities worldwide.”
This week, we spoke to Veronica, our Head of Learning & Impact, about her key lessons for building community wellbeing – what we need to learn, un-learn, and re-learn in order to transform our own communities.
Read on as we answer your questions:
- How do we champion organisational wellbeing?
- What wellbeing resources are out there?
- What do we need to do differently to promote wellbeing?
Learning and unlearning
My name is Veronica Fletcher – I am a monitoring, evaluation and learning nerd, which in other words means I love supporting the Y Care International team understand how social change happens, thinking about how we can contribute to this change, and most importantly learning about what works and doesn’t work!
What is the purpose of a ‘wellbeing team’?
At Y Care International, our wellbeing team is a voluntary group of peers who champion wellbeing across the team.
This wellbeing team shares resources about wellbeing; provides mindfulness sessions for staff, and in the past has even offered yoga lessons on our office roof!
They are the people the team knows they can go to if they are having a tough time, in and outside of work, and are a trusted source of support across the team.
After all, if we are looking after ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually we will be in a better place to support those around us, as well as our global YMCA family.
What can people do to educate themselves on wellbeing in the 21st century?
There are a whole host of resources, apps and tools out there! Ironically, ‘learning’ about wellbeing might sometimes feel overwhelming in and of itself, and sometimes just switching off and disconnecting is the best way to enhance your wellbeing.
I personally love to use Headspace! It provides meditations and focus activities for just a few minutes a day. It helps me to take 10 minutes out of my day to just be still!
Getting rid of bad habits – what needs to go?
Thinking we know best – more broadly, this is an assumption that us funders don’t even realise is underpinning how we support local communities and the organisations that serve them.
I had the privilege of working at local organisations in South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique and remember feeling really frustrated when big international donors would prescribe the kind of support communities needed, without knowing anything about these communities!
This is one of the reasons I work at Y Care International. Because with our relatively new approach to partnership, we really want to see local YMCAs and their communities developing their own strategies – and then tell us what aspects of this we can support and contribute to – rather than the other way round.
This just makes sense, because it is the people who are most affected by a challenge that shape what the solution to this looks like!
Re-learning – what knowledge, solutions or practices should we keep?
In our work as an organisation, we’re all about doing development differently – and I believe that in all areas, people really should be able to define what they need for their own wellbeing.
We haven’t got it perfect yet, and we are definitely still learning about our partnership approach supporting YMCAs and their communities across the globe (and won’t ever stop).
This is something we need to hold on to, continuously asking:
- ‘what is working well?’
- ‘what is not working well?’
- ‘what can we do differently next time?’
Want to know more?
Y Care International is the International Development works through the YMCA family with partners in the world’s most vulnerable communities.
Our vision is to see every young person’s potential fulfilled. Join our community today and receive regular updates and stories of communities transformed.