Recently, the Somerset Hills YMCA proudly accepted the NJ State Governor's Jefferson Award for Building Community.
At the event to present the award was New Jersey Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guadagno. The Building Community Award recognizes an organization that makes an impact in its community by fostering youth development and social responsibility through innovative programs and services and through volunteer leadership. The Somerset Hills YMCA was recognized for strengthening the community by offering programs designed to serve and engage youth, as well as provide opportunities for volunteers to create and lead programs that meet the community’s unmet needs. Two such programs are Saturdays in Motion and the Healthy Outcomes Partnership.
“We are honored to be the recipient of this prestigious award,” commented David Carcieri, President and CEO of the Somerset Hills YMCA. “As a cause-driven organization, the Y is committed to making our community stronger by ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. This statewide recognition for the work that we do makes us proud, and inspires us to do even more.”
The New Jersey State Governor's Jefferson Awards is a local program of The Jefferson Awards, which were established in 1972 by the American Institute for Public Service in cooperation with the U.S. Senate and the White House to recognize volunteers nationally. Honorees of the New Jersey State Governor's Jefferson Award achieve measurable community impact and represent outstanding acts of public service, without the expectation of recognition or compensation.
Saturdays in Motion, founded 21 years ago by volunteer Art Raynes, is a volunteer-led recreation program that serves families of children with autism spectrum disorders. The program assigns one volunteer to each child so that he/she can fully enjoy the Y and have individual attention while engaging in recreation and swimming. At the same time, the parents and siblings have the opportunity to connect with other families dealing with autism. Art Raynes has been a passionate and tireless champion of the program, which has not only offered these families hope and support, but also given over a thousand youth volunteers the gift of meaningful service to others.
The Healthy Outcomes Partnership (HOP) is a coalition of more than 25 professionals and concerned community members who volunteer their time to build greater awareness and knowledge of mental health, offer ongoing sustained education to the community including Youth Mental Health First Aid training, and actively connect people to the appropriate mental health care providers. The HOP members work together to build a better understanding of mental illness and, more importantly, acceptance of those suffering with a mental illness.
For more information about the Somerset Hills YMCA visit www.somersethillsymca.org.