HAMILTON, NJ -- Whether she's running her successful small business, leading the Hamilton Township mayoral transition team, organizing a Girl Scout event, serving on the local Zoning Board, or cheering on her daughters at sporting events, Rachel Holland is always on the move around Hamilton Township. Now, she’ll be moving the Hamilton area YMCA into the future as the new chairperson of the non-profit’s Board of Directors.
After approximately seven years on the Board, Holland will serve in the top spot for the next two years as the YMCA looks to expand their services and community connections. On Wednesday evening, the Hamilton area YMCA is hosting an event to between 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm at their branch campus located at 1315 Whitehorse Mercerville Rd in Hamilton to meet Holland as she takes over the reins of the Board.
Sitting down with TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville to talk about what is on the horizon for the Hamilton area YMCA, Holland said they are building upon the core tenets of the organization of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
Among the services the Hamilton Y is seeking to expand are the Healthy Living Programs for individuals thriving after beating cancer; recovering from cardiac disease; delaying the impact of living with Parkinson’s disease; managing multiple sclerosis; recovering from addiction; as well as juvenile and adult weight management programs.
“These programs help people make strides that they may not have been able to do after their initial medical treatment or rehabilitation. But, they may not be fully able to tackle their normal day-to-day,” said Holland. “It’s truly teaching people to walk before they run again.”
The Hamilton area YMCA also has built strong ties to the community, both on and off their campuses, to serve the diverse groups present throughout the community. For instance, they partner with Special Olympics and the Miracle League to provide sports programs for individuals of all abilities, Holland said. They also have a relationship with the Wilson Center to bring youth to the YMCA.
Holland is particularly proud of the YMCA’s Kuser School program. To address the rates of chronic absenteeism and behavioral challenges among a culturally diverse school, the YMCA worked to create specific curriculum to help children learn to better communicate and play together.
“This program proves that the YMCA is more than exercise programs and swim class,” said Holland. “We created the curriculum to help these kids better interact with each other, and they’re seeing absenteeism rates dropping on the days when the YMCA staff is at the school, and the lessons students learn at recess are carried into the classroom.
“We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do for the community, residents, members of the YMCA and non-members,” added Holland.
She also noted the close working relationship between the YMCA and the school district, including offering afterschool programs for children at 13 of the 17 elementary schools. Additionally, the YMCA works to subsidize programs and provide scholarships for families who may not otherwise be able to afford after-school care, camps, or other programs.
Finally, to ease the sign-up process for busy families, the YMCA now provides online registration for programs
When she isn’t busy with her family or various community organization's events in and around her hometown of Hamilton, Rachel owns her own small business – Rachel Holland Special Events and Consulting – that specializes in community outreach programs, events, and campaigns to connect clients with statewide decision makers.
Holland also serves as vice-chair of the Board of Directors of Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey and leads both of her daughters’ Girl Scout troops, is on the Lakeview Child Care Board of Directors, and is the immediate past chair of the Robert Wood Johnson University/ Barnabas Hospital Hamilton Foundation Young Professional’s Group, an organization that named her Young Professional of the Year in 2018.
Holland is a graduate of Drew University and received her Master’s degree in Governmental Affairs from The Fels Institute at University of Pennsylvania. After serving in the White House internship program, she began her career serving New Jersey’s Office of the Governor as an Advance Director in 2001. In 2004, Holland became the corporate event’s director for NJ TRANSIT, the third largest Transportation Corporation in the United States.
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