Granting Access for All

The YMCA at Pabst Farms recently received a $10,000 grant awarded by the Stackner Family Foundation, benefiting our Special Programs department.

These programs provide a unique experience for individuals with disabilities with an emphasis on physical activity, social interaction and fun.

Monies from the grant were used towards funding summer trips and activities for the program, making these opportunities more affordable and accessible to individuals with special needs. Established 1966, the Stackner Family Foundation is committed to funding non-profit organizations that provide services and programs to people living with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities or chronic mental health diagnoses.

John Treiber is the Director of the foundation and has partnered with the Y for over 10 years. Treiber’s daughter has been a longtime participant in Y Special Programs, and their family has seen firsthand the valuable impact of experiential education.

Jodi Dabrowski, Special Programs Director for the YMCA at Pabst Farms, says their department has been excited for this grant opportunity to further the experiences the program can offer. “We are so very grateful for the continued support of the Stackner Family Foundation,” says Dabrowski. “They have truly gotten our Special Programs department to where it is today, and have been instrumental in making these opportunities a reality for all of our program participants.”

Smart Nutrition for Academic Success

Sara Dow is a ACE Certified Weight Management and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. She is also a ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Small Group Trainer at the Y. Twice a month, her blog posts will feature nutrition education, a healthy recipe she has tried and loves, and tips to help you achieve your health goals, as well as answers centered around a nutrition question from a Y member.

Give your kids a healthy start as they head back to school with these smart nutrition strategies!

Prioritize Breakfast: research shows that kids who eat breakfast perform better in school with higher test scores and fewer behavioral issues.   

  • For a quick and healthy breakfast, enjoy whole grain cereal with less than 10 grams of sugar, low-fat milk, a piece of fruit, and yogurt.

Provide Variety:  diverse options help ensure kids get the nutrients they need from each food group.  Mix up lunch with these wrap variations.

  • Spread a whole-grain tortilla with mustard, hummus, or pesto. Fill with grilled chicken salad or assorted lean meats. Add cheese, tomato, sliced onion, avocado, and shredded Romaine lettuce.  
  • For a Mexican theme, fill with guacamole, salsa, black beans, grilled chicken (optional), and brown rice.

Wrap in foil and pack in an insulated lunchbox. 

Prep Smart Snacks: pack a healthy lunch side or after-school snack.

  • Fruit cup (packaged in water or juice) or fresh fruit.
  • Applesauce (no sugar added).
  • Nuts (if age and allergy appropriate). ALDI carries 100-calorie single-serve almond packets, which offer convenience and portion control.
  • Raw veggies such as carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, colorful snacking bell peppers, or celery sticks.
  • Cheese sticks — available in 2% sharp cheddar or part skim-milk mozzarella.
  • Individually wrapped snack bars with three or more grams of fiber, less than 10 grams of sugar, and no more than 1 gram of saturated fat. (KIND and Fiber One bars are a favorite in my house).
  • Yogurt with less than 10-12 grams of sugar per serving. Better yet, opt for plain and add honey or fruit.

Partner with your child: kids are more likely to accept healthy options if involved in the planning and preparation.  Invite them to select from a list of healthy foods and encourage them to pack their own lunch.

Check out for more back-to-school nutrition tips and news for kids of every age.

About Sara Dow

Hi, I’m Sara and I am passionate about helping people improve their quality of life through the knowledge and practice of good nutrition.  

In 2018, I was inspired by the YMCA community to go back to school and pursue my dream of becoming a registered dietitian. I am now in my senior year, double majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics at Kansas State University.  I am excited to share with you what I am learning.