YMCA staffer wins award

Woodfin – A member of the staff at YMCA, headquartered in Woodfin, has received the third annual Trailblazer Award on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at the monthly Board of Delegates meeting at Land-of-Sky Regional Council. The award was presented to Diane Saccone and is given annually to a professional in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, or Transylvania County who is a pioneer and innovator in the field of aging and adult services.
Saccone is the Director of Healthy Aging Initiatives for the YMCA of Western North Carolina and is responsible for overseeing innovative health, educational and social programs and services that reduce social isolation and improve the health of older adults living in Western North Carolina.
In addition, Saccone is responsible for developing specialized staff training addressing specific health-related needs of the healthy aging population including sensitivity training for working with older adults, caregiving, elder abuse and prevention, and dementia stigma awareness. Besides her primary duties, she supports healthy aging initiatives for the YMCA of the USA and is a Y-USA faculty trainer for the YMCA Moving for Better Balance program and trainer for the Enhance Fitness program.
Saccone has over 40 years of experience in clinical laboratory medicine and holds a master’s degree in clinical laboratory medicine from the Medical College of Virginia, and is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists.
Saccone’s work at the YMCA is just a starting point for her. She reaches into all of our community, grabbing our ears and gently pulling them toward the understanding that healthy aging is not an option for the few but the foundation of health for all. Her passion turns boring meetings into works in progress where attendees catch her sparks and create results for seniors in our area. Her creativity pushes all of us to think collaboratively to build better, more innovative, relevant services for older adults.
According to a press release from the Land-of-Sky Regional Council, “Saccone makes healthy choices into something we want to do, not something we have to do. Reducing social isolation and improving the health of older adults happen naturally around Diane because her energy is like a magnet pulling people out of their loneliness. She is the conductor that gets people to play and sing notes in harmony, creating a unified approach to addressing social determinants of health. Her ability to interconnect people and agencies and lead them in a healthy direction makes her an ideal candidate to receive this award. She is a Trailblazer we are honored to follow.”

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Clint Parker

Publisher & Editor Weaverville Tribune

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