Healthy Easter Basket

Easter Baskets

Make this Easter a healthy one! This spring holiday can be an easy excuse to fill baskets full of egg or bunny-shaped chocolates and candy. From peanut butter eggs to Cadbury, sugar can end up being the main course of any Easter meal! If your children are looking forward to a candy-filled basket this Easter, here are a few healthier options to put in their Easter baskets! Continue reading

Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week

young adult cancer awareness

The week of April 4th – 10th is National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week.

Approximately 5% of all cancer diagnoses in the United States are young people between the ages of 15 and 39, according to the National Cancer Institute. Currently, the most common types of cancer for young adults are Brain, Breast, Cervical, Colorectal, Germ Cell Tumors, Leukemia, Liver, Lymphoma, Melanoma, Sarcomas, Testicular, and Thyroid.

Because cancer in young adults isn’t as common, most causes for cancer are less environmentally-related. Most times young adults, teens, and children develop cancer that is not dependent on outside factors that have affected their gene mutations, but have simply inherited the gene mutations from a parent, according to the American Cancer Society. Though certain cancers in young adults cannot be prevented by your environment, there are a variety of known causes for others to watch out for, as listed from the American Cancer Society:

  • “Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or from tanning beds can increase the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers.”
  • “Infection with some types of human papilloma virus (HPV) can increase the risk of cervical and some other cancers.”
  • “Infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can raise the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Kaposi sarcoma, and some other cancers.”
  • “Treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy for a childhood cancer can increase the risk of getting a second cancer, especially leukemia, later on.”

While cancer at any age or stage of life is a terrible thing, young adults face specific challenges in their battle with cancer. As young adults, many men and women are developing their independence, starting new things (college, jobs, first home, marriage), and learning about the world in new ways.  According to, “Young adults with cancer may need to depend on others for care and finances at a time when they want to be independent” adding to their fears.

In addition, young adults most likely don’t have as much experience with the health care system at this age, have limited financial resources, and may not recognize cancer as quickly as an older adult, according to adult cancer awareness

All of these changes and issues can cause serious anxiety for young adults. Many young adults begin to feel lonely in their battle with cancer, and can isolate themselves from others. It‘s highly encouraged for adults at this age to participate in cancer support groups in order to stay connected and find the encouragement they need to move forward. There are a variety of networking groups to be a part of, such as the Ulman Cancer Fund for Youth Adults, that provide on-site or remote patient navigation services and meetings for young adults to engage with other cancer patients.

Though cancer in young adults is more rare, it’s extremely important for young adults who think something might be wrong, to discuss issues with their doctor. The earlier the cancer is detected, the better one’s chances are of recovery. Young adults with cancer experience unique challenges and fears, and it’s important to raise awareness and encourage young adults to find the help and support systems they need to battle this disease with their full mental, physical, and emotional strength.

Young adults, you are not alone. In addition to a variety of other groups and services out there, the Harrisburg Area YMCA provides their LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program for any adult ages 18 or older who is living with or beyond cancer treatment. Through this program, participants can reclaim their health and well-being, as well as connect with others and develop lasting relationships.

Emily Sanville, Digital Communications Coordinator

Preparing for Kindergarten


Bittersweet is the day when parents say goodbye to their young ones on their first day of school. If you have a child who is attending kindergarten for the first time this fall, you’re likely either breathing a sigh of relief or your heart is breaking just thinking about it.

Kindergarten is an important time in a child’s life. Whether you’re enrolling them in a half-day kindergarten or full-day program, their social skills will be developed, their attention spans will be tested, and their horizons will be expanded.

Preparing your child for kindergarten may not seem like a high priority, but in fact, preparing your child for their kindergarten experience will help them significantly in adjusting to the new learning environment. According to an article from MayoClinic, “Kindergarten marks the start of a child’s formal education. […] As a result, it’s important to make sure that when your child begins school he or she is developmentally ready to learn and participate in classroom activities.”

During the kindergarten phase, children are typically exposed to letters and sounds, writing, numbers and counting, shapes and objects, and times and seasons, according to In order to help your child transition and learn during the year, it’s important that parents play a significant role in encouraging, supporting, and coaching their children in the home.


Kindergarten is a time of exploration as children learn to be more confident and self-reliant. According to, there are a variety of skills that your children should possess or begin to possess as they enter Kindergarten, including:

  • Identify some letters of the alphabet
  • Grip a pencil, crayon, or marker correctly (with the thumb and forefinger supporting the tip)
  • Use scissors, glue, paint, and other art materials with relative ease
  • Write his/her first name using upper and lowercase letters, if possible
  • Count to 10
  • Bounce a ball
  • Speak using complete sentences
  • Identify rhyming words
  • Repeat his full name, address, phone number, and birthday
  • Manage bathroom needs
  • Follow directions
  • Clean up after his/herself
  • Listen to a story without interrupting
  • Separate from parents easily

This list is not extensive and mastering everything on it is not essential to beginning Kindergarten. Children will learn and develop these skills and others, so it is only encouraged that children come as prepared as possible for these learning opportunities.


As their parent or caretaker, you can help them prepare as much as possible over the summer and while they’re in school by continuing to play, read, and explore new things with your child. Asking your children what they learned when they come home from Kindergarten and showing an interest in what they’ve learned can help foster your relationship with your child, especially if they’re not enjoying being away from home.  It won’t be long before they begin to incorporate what they’ve learned in their activities at home!

The most important attribute to knowing if your child is ready for kindergarten is their eagerness or interest in learning.  Kindergarten is all about learning basic skills and knowledge through colorful, fun games and activities.  If your child is interested in learning, you can rest easy knowing that Kindergarten is a great next step!

Select branches at the Harrisburg Area YMCA offer Half-Day Kindergarten programs for children who are enrolled in an AM or PM class this upcoming school year. We provide enrichment activities such as arts and crafts, imaginative play, listening, reading, math, and science in a safe and supportive environment. For more information on our current Half-Day Kindergarten Programs, please visit our website and select your branch!

-Emily Sanville, Digital Communications Coordinator