INDIANAPOLIS -- The Greater Indianapolis YMCA is offering family members of the Indiana National Guardsmen an affordable way to stay active and healthy while their loved ones are deployed. The organization has created Operation Indiana Partners, which allows the families of deployed Indiana National Guardsmen to enjoy free fitness facility memberships.

“We want to make sure their families have lots of positive activities during these difficult times,” Eric Ellsworth, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Indianapolis Y, said during a recent news conference at the Y’s Fishers, IN, branch.

About 43 facilities throughout Indiana participate in Operation Indiana Partners, according to the Y’s Web site. Participating facilities also offer as many as two hours of free child care during specified time periods.

New Y members taking advantage of the program say that little things can make a difference.

“As a military wife, it’s very hard with a loved one being gone, and this definitely helps,” says Guard spouse Ashley Witt. “[The free membership] made my day. Things like this can really change your mood. It’s the little things like this that can make the families happy.”