ROXBOROUGH >>The Roxborough YMCA has recently undergone several changes to make the building more easily accessible to members with disabilities.
Longtime YMCA member Barbara Lynn requested some changes to the facility that would increase safety and allow greater independence for those with disabilities. Lynn, who is permanently confined to a wheelchair, exercises at the YMCA pool three days per week.
Concerned about making sure the building could be open and accessible to all members, she worked with Matt Student, executive director of the Roxborough YMCA, to make changes to improve the building’s accessibility.
“[We] recognized that many members have temporary or permanent limited mobility and require use of assistive devices,” Lynn said.
To best serve their members, Student said it’s important to address any barriers as they come up.
“At the Y, we say we’re for all. In order to do that, we need to make sure our building is accessible for all,” Student said.
In 2017, more than $13,000 was invested to make the YMCA more accessible, according to Student.
The building already featured push buttons installed at the main entrance to open the two sets of double doors. Since then, additional handicap push buttons have been installed at the entrances to the men’s and women’s locker rooms from the lobby and the pool.
Increased accessibility has also been achieved in several other areas of the building. High-traffic areas have been improved for those using wheelchairs, crutches, canes or walkers, those pushing baby strollers or staff members moving large cleaning carts or carrying equipment and supplies.
According to Lynn, staff have been trained to safely transfer her from her wheelchair to the pool and back to her wheelchair after her workout. In addition, modifications have been made to the pool deck to ensure that the transfer can be completed safely, said Lynn.
In addition, a doorway to the shower in the women’s locker room was widened and the threshold removed to allow wheelchair users easier movement in the shower.
Currently, work is being done to increase accessibility for those attending the YMCA’s special abilities camp. The work is set to be done by June.
According to Student, the camp bathroom previously was not easily accessible to campers in wheelchairs. The bathroom is being completely gutted and renovated to better accommodate all of the campers.
The Roxborough YMCA is one of more than 20 branches of the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA. It serves the Roxborough community and surrounding areas including Manayunk, Lafayette Hill, Mt. Airy, Germantown and Chestnut Hill.
Some of the programs the YMCA offers include swim lessons, sports, childcare, babysitting, day camps, personal training and group exercise classes.
To contact the YMCA or to learn more about programs and services, visit philaymca.org/locations/roxborough.