Watch: YMCA Hamilton and Burlington’s Walk off the Earth revive a disco classic
Published August 29, 2023 at 3:11 pm
Okay, it’s not really disco this time but if you danced to it in the 70s you surely know that it was.
This time, reimagined by Burlington’s own Walk off the Earth, the song Y.M.C.A. leans less on the beat and more on the message as the natural relationship between the tune is being put to good use by the YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford.
The local YMCA and the band have teamed up to release the song to raise awareness of expanded access to the free youth mental health program, Y Mind
Originally released in 1978 by the Village People, Y.M.C.A. has had an enduring legacy but now refreshed by members of Walk off the Earth, the song has been slowed down and given a soulful purpose to draw attention to the need for more community dialogue surrounding mental health.
“We’ve seen how music is so connected to emotions – for us and our fans – so we were honoured to take on the challenge of reinventing such an iconic song and give new meaning to its enduring lyrics,” says Sarah Blackwood, lead singer of Walk off the Earth. “When we took a look at the original lyrics, it was staggering how a message about the YMCA from 45 years ago is just as relevant and pointed today – but now we’re sharing that message with a focus on mental health tied to Y Mind.”
The YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford hopes the collaboration will usher in a new era for the charitable organization that has evolved to provide a broader range of programming such as free mental health services.
Y Mind is an early intervention mental health program that helps teens (ages 13-18) and young adults (ages 18-30) cope with stress and anxiety with the support of health professionals. The seven-week program is available online or in person, in English and French (under the name YMCA Libère ta tête).
To date, the Y Mind program across the Hamilton, Burlington and Brantford region has provided support to 87 youth. The program is offered free of charge through support and funding by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
“The number of stressors that today’s youth face can seem overwhelming, including the post-pandemic experience, school, and social media pressures,” said Manny Figueiredo, President & CEO, YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford. “We recognize that cost is often one of the biggest barriers for youth in need of mental wellness programs. Y Mind removes that barrier.”
The YMCA points to Deloitte survey of this year that shows that half of Gen Zs (46 per cent) and four in 10 Millennials (39 per cent) report feeling stressed or anxious all or most of the time. Guided by qualified mental healthcare professionals, participants in the Y Mind program have reported reduced anxiety, improved well-being, and reduced feelings of isolation.
To learn more about the Y Mind program or find a location near you, visit www.ymca.ca/ymind.
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