The Summit Area YMCA recently received a Resolution of Recognition from The Summit Board of Education in recognition for its work in providing special needs students with customized education plans to transition into their home communities.

The Summit Area YMCA works with the Summit School district job coach and Special Needs Teachers in providing certain students with skills training and a structured job routine to provide both consistency, confidence and independence as they transition out of the high school environment.

“For the past two years the Summit Area YMCA has provided one of Summit High School's special education students a work experience at their facility. From greeting the guests, to cleaning the equipment, the student has learned to work independently and the responsibilities of having a job.” said Pat Walsh, Summit High School's Transition Coordinator. “We work with the SAY to create such opportunities for students in order to better prepare them for life after high school and the world of work.”

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The Summit Area YMCA is invested in strengthening the community in more than just physical wellness—so much more than a gym, the SAY provides numerous opportunities, programs and services to the community to ensure every individual has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.

"My hope for these kids is that the Y can help them realize the potential they have and let them learn and develop in a safe environment, so that when they leave the Y they are ready to handle their next endeavor." said Terri Clinton, Executive Branch Director of the Summit YMCA.

Some of these free programs include the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program, a program for cancer survivors to get a free 12 week membership to the SAY to be in a small group wellness program to regain strength, flexibility, confidence and more; the 2nd Grade Learn to Swim program, where all 2nd graders are able to learn to swim for free at the Y; the 7th Grade Membership program, where all area 7th graders can get a free membership to build healthy habits and socialize in a safe, welcoming environment; or the Achievers program, where we provide young adults with guidance and opportunities to pursue their personal, academic, and professional goals with attend college tours, receive corporate mentoring and to experience career clusters and so much more.

Additionally, the SAY’s successful Sundays in Motion program at the Summit YMCA invites families with children ages 5 to 18 living with special needs to enjoy 2 hours of fun exercise, games and family swimming time on a designated Sunday each month and has led to an increase in Special Needs programming and summer camps at the Y. In addition to Sundays in Motion, the Summit YMCA provides Adaptive Swim Lessons and the Berkeley Heights YMCA, a branch of the Summit Area YMCA, now provides Adaptive Yoga classFridays in Motion (similar to Sundays in Motion, but for ages 14-21), holds a variety of special events like Zumba class, bowling nights, movie nights and Special Needs Prom with the St. Bartholomew Church of Scotch Plains and Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA, and is also now offering a summer camp program “Awesome Afternoon” camps for special needs youth ages 14-21.

The Summit Area YMCA is one of the area’s leading charitable organizations with a proud culture in which diversity and inclusion are integral to everyday operations. We are committed to nurturing the potential of our youth, promoting healthy living amongst all and fostering a sense of social responsibility to help and create lasting, meaningful change in our community. As the first Diversity, Inclusion and Global Innovation Network YMCA in the state of New Jersey, the Summit Area YMCA is dedicated to reaching diverse communities, community bridge-building and driving program innovation so that everyone, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or level of ability, has an opportunity to reach their full potential.

To learn more about programming and opportunities for individuals living with special needs, please visit www.theSAY.org/specialneeds

To learn more about the Summit Area YMCA’s work in Diversity, Inclusion and Global efforts, please visit: please visit www.theSAY.org/DIG

The Summit Area YMCA also provides financial assistance for membership, programs and services. To learn more, please visit www.theSAY.org/FA.