Today, Victoria is 100 pounds lighter than she was four years ago. She is no longer taking medications to prevent diabetes, ward off depression or to control her blood pressure. The added strain on her joints is gone.
"It's kind of a miracle," Victoria says, reflecting on her transformation to a healthier, more hopeful life — a miracle that United Way givers helped bring about.
By all accounts, Victoria had hit rock bottom. She had finally found the courage to leave an abusive marriage of 12 years, but she had no job and owed money for student loans. At 225 pounds, Victoria's confidence was another hurdle.
Victoria's mother bought her a membership to JCC Indianapolis, an agency that is part of United Way's health investment in our community. Victoria began coming to the JCC every day to swim for an hour. Gradually, the weight began to come off.
Then a JCC staff member told Victoria about spinning classes. That's when the weight loss really sped up. Today, when Victoria shops for clothing, she goes to the size 4 rack, instead of the 3 XL. In addition to a healthier body, Victoria's self confidence and hope for the future is also healthier.
She found a job, paid off her student loans, and is now picturing a "next steps" for herself. At the JCC, Victoria noticed local firefighters working out and approached one of them about her dream of becoming an EMT. She has since been allowed to ride along on several fire department runs and has applied for and received a full scholarship to receive EMT certification.
"I feel more alive…like I can do anything," said Victoria.
With almost 31 percent of Indiana residents considered obese, addressing the health and long-term cost consequences of obesity is a United Way priority. Thanks to your United Way giving, last year more than 27,000 people like Victoria participated in fitness activities to improve their physical and mental well-being.
Note: United Way currently funds 14 agencies (including JCC) that help people improve their physical health through exercise. United Way's total 2013/14 investment in those 14 agencies is just over $3 million. Thank you!
Since 1943, UWCI has invested more than $9.6 million in JCC. This includes grants of more than $1.7 million for capital, maintenance and technology improvements from funds contributed specifically for such needs. The agency’s 2013/2014 Community Fund allocation is $93,300.