YMCA and HealthPartners Collaborate to Promote Reading, Talking and Singing to Young Children

Minneapolis, MNThe YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, is launching a pilot tool with HealthPartners called “Boost Your Brain,” to promote reading, talking and singing with children ages 0-3.

Studies show that a baby’s brain is more than 80 percent developed by age three. “Boost Your Brain” is a booklet that encourages parents to read, talk and sing to their young children every day. The booklet highlights research on brain development and offers suggestions on what parents can do to encourage healthy brain development at different ages. “Boost Your Brain” will be piloted to families of children in child-care programs at two YMCA locations, the St. Paul Midway YMCA and the Eagan YMCA.

“When you read, talk, sing or play with children, you are exercising their brains and equipping them for success in the future,” said Andrea Walsh, president and CEO of HealthPartners. “The YMCA and HealthPartners share a passion for children in our community, and we are pleased to support the ‘Boost Your Brain’ project to support families and children and improve community health and well-being.”

The “Boost Your Brain” pilot is an example of HealthPartners’ work to advance children’s health and well-being.

“The YMCA is proud to collaborate with HealthPartners and support children’s health,” said Glen Gunderson, president and CEO of the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. “We know that the first three years of a child’s life are critical to their cognitive and social-emotional development. We look forward to sharing this important resource with youth and parents in Y programs.”

The Eagan HealthPartners and Park Nicollet Pediatric Clinics will also have the booklet available in waiting rooms. The pilot is expected to last a couple months. Parent feedback will then be used to inform how the resource could be rolled out more broadly.

About HealthPartners

HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. For more information, visit

About the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities

The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities is a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Established 161 years ago, the Ys provide life-strengthening services across 12 counties of the greater Twin Cities metro region and western Wisconsin communities. The 28 Y locations and program sites, seven overnight camps, 10 day camps, and more than 90 child care sites engage more than 350,000 men, women and children of all ages, incomes and backgrounds. To learn more about the Y’s mission and work, visit