After a successful run in Telopea last year, a new free health and fitness program for youth aged 12-18 will start in Toongabbie next week.
YMCA NSW-run program Street gYm was originally developed to address a number of growing needs in the Parramatta LGA including childhood obesity and mental illness among young people.
Youth Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Laura Eason says, “YMCA NSW hopes to give young people in Toongabbie and its surrounds a safe place to come, be active and learn about making healthy choices in their life.”
“Toongabbie is an area of many different backgrounds and cultures, with 54.9 per cent of residents originating from other countries.” 
“This program will be a great way to help break down those communication walls and give young people from Toongabbie and surrounding suburbs a safe place after school to meet new friends.”
There will be sports and activities, a chill-out area, music and a healthy afternoon tea.
Street gYm also gives young people involved in the program the opportunity to work on other aspects of their lives by partnering with other local services including Headspace.
“So many young people are experiencing mental illnesses. Mental health is the top national concern for young people including managing stress and anxiety, body image and depression.” 
“The whole concept is to encourage early help seeking and help break down that mental health stigma, by creating a community network for young people even if it is through sports of meeting up with friends at a location.”
“We’re also seeing high rates of childhood obesity here in this state, with one out of every five young people aged 5 to 17 years in New South Wales is considered overweight or obese. 
“Street gYm helps combat this by increasing physical activity in local youth, by playing a range of sports including frisbee, basketball, football, or any other sport that they want to play.”
Telopea Street gYm launched in November 2017, and received very positive feedback from its participants and the community. YMCA NSW hopes to duplicate its success at Toongabbie.
“YMCA NSW conducted a survey at Telopea’s Street gYm at the end of last year and 100 per cent of the participants now felt safe in Sturt Park, whereas before it started safety there was a major concern.”
This program was made possible thanks to Parramatta Council and Parramatta Leagues Club.
EVERY TUESDAY STARTING FEBRUARY 13, 2018 (DURING SCHOOL TERM)
LOCATION: Reynolds Park, Toongabbie
2 Chanel Street, Toongabbie NSW 2146
Media: Skaie Hull 0415070604 E firstname.lastname@example.org
About the YMCA: YMCA NSW is a community not-for-profit organisation committed to healthy living, empowerment and positive social impact. We believe in the power of inspired young people to effect positive change in the world. We support this by offering a range of programs and services at more than 100 locations across NSW and the ACT. YMCA NSW is recognised as a Safeguarding Children accredited organisation by the Australian Childhood Foundation. To find out more, visit www.ymcansw.org.au.
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