CINCINNATI, OH., October 12, 2023 -- The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Mayerson Child Well-Being Initiative (MCWI) are excited to announce a dynamic collaboration aimed at further enriching the lives of community members.


In May 2023, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murphy released a new Surgeon General Advisory calling attention to the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection in our country. Two questions this collaboration project aims to answer are what is belonging, and how do belonging and social capital impact a person’s health and happiness? The ultimate goal of the collaboration is a set of tools to implement in any community to increase social capital and belonging.

Carley Riley, MD, Physician Researcher/MCWI Director/Mentor, says “A strong sense of belonging is vital to physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. This is true for children and adults as well as for families and whole communities. Collaborating with the YMCA, we are centering the wisdom of community members in defining, measuring, and improving belonging and social capital in service to better, more equitable health and well-being.”

The project will begin at the Clippard Family YMCA, at the heart of the diverse Colerain Township community. Focus groups including YMCA members and staff will be conducted, with a specific lens on community belonging. Several additional facilitated conversations led by Cincinnati Children’s Dr. Monique Quinn, Clinical Fellow, Division of Critical Care Medicine, and supported by YMCA staff are planned, and an academic literature review will complement the focus groups and interviews.

At the heart of this collaboration is a shared commitment to building stronger, more resilient communities. The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, an institution deeply rooted in community engagement and empowerment, has long recognized the importance of fostering a sense of belonging among its members and those within our communities.

Jorge Perez, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati wants to remind the community, “You don’t have to be a member to belong. We are taking a look beyond fitness centers and swimming pools and into the ways connections and inclusive spaces can have an impact on community health.”

Aligning with the MCWI, renowned for dedication to the holistic well-being of children and families, this partnership will bring a research-driven approach to assist each organization with tools and metrics to measure and enhance a sense of belonging within our diverse communities.

This collaboration between the YMCA and the MCWI will be a mutual enriching experience. By combining the YMCA’s understanding of community dynamics and the MCWI’s research approach to well-being, the collaboration aims to foster enhanced learning and develop innovative measurement strategies.

For more information about the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Children’s Mayerson Child Well-Being Initiative, please visit myy.org and cincinnatichildrens.org.

About the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati 

Together, we work to ensure that everyone—regardless of ability, age, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender identity, ideology, income, national origin, race, or sexual orientation—is treated equitably. We build inclusive and joyful environments where all people can reach goals, make friends, and connect to a cause greater than themselves. For more information about the Y, visit MyY.org, call (513) 362-YMCA or stop by a Y branch near you.  

About the Cincinnati Children’s Mayerson Child Well-Being Initiative

The Mayerson Child Well-being Initiative at Cincinnati Children’s brings together children, youth, families, community leaders, and academic partners to co-create a shared framework to help children and youth thrive. For more information about the MCWI, visit cincinnatichildrens.org.

Contact: Victoria Gerkin vgerkin@myy.org

YMCA of Greater Cincinnati