The Y knows that being healthy is much more than taking care of our bodies. It’s taking care of our minds and spirits too. One of the most powerful ways to renew our minds and nurture our spiritual health is through a small group experience. And YMCA small groups are exactly that: powerful!

Kevin joined the Journey to Freedom small group after going through a devastating divorce. He needed a support system to help him believe that there was hope for his future.

“From the very beginning of the group, I felt comfortable sharing my story, my fears, my hopes, and my dreams,” he said. “I could see that talking about my story wasn't just helping me, it was helping others—just like everyone else's personal story helped me. It's important to know you’re not alone, and the group does that.”

Over time, Kevin grew from feeling lost and lonely to found and loved.

“I realized that God and Jesus already loved me, and that I needed to build a personal relationship with them,” he said.

Kevin then joined the Boundaries small group to continue his growth process, and he plans to use his healing to help others.

”Someday I would like to give back to the Y by helping to facilitate some of the small groups that I once participated in,” he said.

Providing a safe and sacred space

Kevin’s life-changing story is one of hundreds from our small group community. In 2017, the Y provided 53 support groups addressing the spiritual needs of 363 people in 11 locations (an 80% increase over 2016). We also engaged 63 volunteer facilitators to lead groups in our YMCA family centers.

Based on Christian principles that provide a safe and sacred space for people to be honest with themselves and others, the groups teach healthy ways of navigating through the challenges of life. Our groups follow a model that accepts people exactly where they are and encourages them to grow from that place.

For some, it may be getting finances in order. For others, it may be taking new steps after a major loss. From procrastination to addiction to broken relationships—all of us are working on something.

As you think about the year ahead, perhaps one of our groups would help you take that next step to better health in spirit, mind, and body. Our groups are offered throughout the Middle Tennessee area and can be found here.