By Tamas Mondovics

Veterans and their families were invited last month to a free health fair to kick off a new partnership between the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and Clinics.
According to Y officials the event was historic in that the VA and YMCA leadership came together to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to begin working in a ‘mutually-beneficial manner to promote and enhance the health and well-being of veterans and their families at multiple Tampa Y locations in Hillsborough and East Pasco counties.

After the ceremonial signing, which included CEOs Tom Looby (YMCA) and Joe Battle (VA), veterans and their families participated in a free health fair where they were be able to tour the New Tampa Y facility, 16221 Compton Dr. in Tampa, and learn about how they can benefit from Y programming that builds healthy spirit, mind and body at all Tampa Y locations.

Attendees enjoyed health screenings, fitness assessments, yoga demos, group exercise demos, free giveaways and light refreshments.

“The free health fair is the first step in a new partnership where the Tampa Y will work directly with the VA to provide programming and services targeting the veteran population,” said Y Communications Director Lalita Llerena.

Llerena emphasized that Y programming includes, but is not limited to, pre-diabetes education, fitness regimens and support for cancer survivors, arthritis and Parkinson’s patients.

The overall goal of the partnership is to enhance the experience and access to programming and resources that contribute to the health and well-being of veterans and their families.

The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA is a cause-driven 4-star charity, strengthening Hillsborough and East Pasco communities for 128 years, through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Across the Association, 18 facilities engage more than 150,000 men, women and children — regardless of age, income or background — to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve our community’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Visit

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