Project Blast


New Health and Wellness Classes at Local YMCA


A new wellness program piloted in Cincinnati, Ohio last fall continues to hold classes at the YMCA.

The Hamilton County Board of MRDD and the Williams YMCA co-funded the first 8 week BLAST program in the fall of 2007 and assisted with recruitment. Flyers were placed at local YMCA’s. A member of the Y made a donation to support the new program for the next 12 months.

How We Began


Working together, Marvin Moss and Essie Pederson, started Project Blast. Beginning with Mr. Moss' Partners in Policymaking project in 2007, he chose health and wellness as his personal Partners Project. He was interested in doing this because of his own personal wellness needs, along with being a reviewer for the UIC Exercise and Nutrition Health Education Curriculum. In July, 2007, he approached Ms. Pederson to help him meet his goal.

That is how the BLAST program began. It became a partnership that included the Hamilton County Board MRDD (by providing seed money to pilot the program’s first two sessions and staff support), W.J. Williams YMCA (by providing their facility, qualified staff, and the commitment to find ongoing funding), and the RRTC on Aging and DD (by providing the curriculum and staff support).

A great example of what people with disabilities can do when given resources, skills development, and power to succeed.

Project Blast Front Logo
Project Blast T-Shirt

What are We Doing Now


Using the materials from the UIC Exercise and Nutrition Health Education Curriculum, everyone has a personal folder to keep their homework assignments; and they enjoy reviewing health education materials in class. An opportunity for everyone in our community with a variety of disabilities to participate in health and wellness activities.

Marvin and Essie currently participate in a regional Health and Wellness Coalition promoting the UIC Exercise and Nutrition Health Education Curriculum and the collaboration with the YMCA.

Many of the participants in Project Blast attended the UIC Health Promotion Train-the-Trainer Workshop directed by Beth Marks and Jasmina Sisirak in the Spring of 2007. Tena Benson has also organized the committee of various agencies addressing wellness over the ages.

Awards for Project Blast
  1. Hamilton County Board of MRDD’s Superintendent Award
  2. Volunteer of the Year Award