Giving Back

Youth Appreciation Week Celebrates Annual Diversity Festival and Stuffs the Bus

May 23, 2014 at 4:00 PM

LIVINGSTON, NJ - In honor of Livingston’s 18th Annual Youth Appreciation Week, members and nonmembers from across the Livingston community gathered at the YMCA to enjoy an international fashion show, ethnic food sampling and cultural song and dance performances from around the world free of charge on Thursday.

More than a dozen tables from different countries were set up for all to visit, many of which featured a taste of that country’s culture including a sample of its ethnic cuisine. Well known for being a township collaborator, the YMCA’s mission is to address the needs of the community. This festival served as a celebration of not only Livingston’s youth, but also its cultural and social diversity.

“This is a festival that celebrates the diversity of our community and how we are all both alike and different, and reminds us how beautiful that is,” Associate Executive Director Cheryl Francione said. “I am always just overjoyed with this celebration.”

Sign Up for E-News

One of the YMCA’s key areas of focus is youth development. This town-wide event is a way for Livingston’s youth to learn about other cultures, take pride in their own heritage or to simply spend time with friends. 

“At the Y we’re all about youth development, so this festival is a perfect fit for our mission,” Francione said. “People of every race, religion, creed, ethnicity and physical ability can partake in this fabulous international event. This occasion represents Livingston’s diversity at its best.”

Throughout the evening, children partook in an activity that involved travelling to the various tables, collecting country stamps and applying them to a YMCA-made passport in order to receive a goody bag at the event’s conclusion. The children and their families simultaneously enjoyed diverse international treats as well as cultural performances by local music and dance groups.

Ultimately, this annual diversity festival is an opportunity for local youth to learn about other cultures, while also taking pride in their own individual heritage.

“I love the exposure the kids get to other cultures, but it’s also a really fun and safe environment,” Marnie McNany, mother of 12-year-old Mary McNany, said. “It’s amazing having the tables combined with the performances because it captures each child’s attention.”

Many of the children enjoy participating every year, while others, like the Cub Scouts, the Livingstones, the Starliners and the Huaxia School find excitement in performing for the annually-growing crowd.

Thursday’s Youth Appreciation Week events also included the annual Stuff the Bus Food Drive. Each year, Livingston’s Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW) makes itself available for residents who fall on challenging times, while also serving as a feeder to other local food pantries and soup kitchens in the area including the Interfaith Food Pantry, Apsotle House, Mother Theresa's and Oheb Shalom Bobrow Kosher Food Pantry.

The bus made stops at The West Essex Tribune, Schneck Law Firm in collaboration with Centrock Group, Kings, The Livingston Mall, The Westminster Hotel and Pediatric Potentials. The bus also stopped at The JCC preschool in West Orange, Newark Academy and The West Essex YMCA.

YAW Chairperson Alan Karpas and other event sponsors said they sincerely thank the participating businesses as well as the community for its ongoing support of this initiative.



TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


New Eyes for the Needy in Short Hills Receives $100,000 Matching Gift from Anonymous Donor

December 6, 2016

SHORT HILLS, NJ - New Eyes for the Needy, a Short Hills-based non-profit organization, has received a substantial matching gift for donations received in the year-end fund raising appeal. An anonymous donor will match all donations received through January 2017 (up to $100,000).

Founded in 1932, New Eyes has been able to assist more than eight-million children and adults in financial need ...

Randolph's Brendan Fletcher Reaches Top 8 on NBC’s “The Voice”

December 4, 2016

LOS ANGELES, CA - “And though the course may change sometimes, rivers always reach the sea,” Led Zepplin, Ten Years Gone

After years of changing his course, living in New Jersey, Boston, Brooklyn, and Charleston, all while singing in small local bars, at open mic nights, and working as a bartender to make ends meet, Randolph’s Brendan Fletcher always ...

Don't Sacrifice the Environment to Fund the State Treasury

November 23, 2016

Dear Editor:

New Jersey’s Natural Resource Damages (NRD) program is an incredibly important and necessary program rising from the state’s history of incremental spills and discharges, as well as historic industrialization. 

NRD requires polluters to go beyond the mandated cleanup and to pay damages for restoration and compensation for the public loss of use of natural ...

Friends of the Livingston Library Restocks Its Ongoing Book Sale for December

December 1, 2016

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Friends of the Livingston Library has fully restocked its Ongoing Book Sale for the month of December. On a monthly basis, Friends takes down all stock and replaces it with entirely new inventory. 

This is the “Friends flip.” Approximately 1200 items of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, DVDs, and CDs are available at great ...

Andy’s Family Music Showcases Alex Weiss on Drums

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Andy’s Family Music Center of Livingston is proud to highlight 11-year-old Alex Weiss, a fifth grader at Collins Elementary School with an aptitude for drums.

Alex studies drums at Andy’s under the instruction of Joe Vitello. He says hid favorite band is Fall Out Boy and that his dad is his number one musical influence.

Check him out in the video ...

Q/A With Owners of Meadowbrook Country Day Camp

Recently, the owners of Meadowbrook Country Day Camp, Dan Milman and George Stein, took part in a fun Question and Answer session. Below are the questions and their responses. To learn more about Milman, Stein and Meadowbrook, click here to read a recent article that ran on


George: A six lb.

Getting a Handle on Thanksgiving

This year, on our National Day of Thanks, I would like to express my gratitude for having hands.

We typically don’t thank our body parts because they seldom leave us.  Most of us have not experienced unfortunate accidents or suffered the horrible consequences of war; tragic events  which might cause us to lose a limb.  

Most of us take our fingers and hands and elbows ...

Beckerman’s Theory of Everything

Any armchair theoretical physicist knows that Stephen Hawking has pursued a lifelong quest to come up with a Theory of Everything. This all-encompassing theory would tie together general relativity (large scale and high mass galaxies, stars, etc), quantum theory (quantum mechanics, quarks, atoms, subatomic particles), and Newtonian physics (gravity on small bodies, gas laws, electromagnetism) to ...