Basking Ridge, NJ, February 20, 2015 – On February 18, Somerset County YMCA kicked off its six- week, 2015 Annual Campaign with a fundraising goal of $700,000. The funds raised through the Y’s Annual Campaign ensure that everyone has access to vital community programs and resources that support positive youth development, healthy living and social  responsibility. At its annual meeting attended by more than 200 people at the Bridgewater Manor, the Board of Directors thanked staff from the Somerset Hills YMCA, Bridgewater YMCA, Hillsborough YMCA and

Somerville YMCA branches for getting the campaign off to a powerful start by pledging $62,875. The amount pledged by 270 staff members demonstrates their belief in the Y’s mission to build a stronger community. Of the staff members who donated, 79 committed to giving back an hour of their wages or more from every paycheck throughout 2015.  The Annual Support Campaign allows Somerset County YMCA to provide financial assistance to individuals and families who struggle financially, and to offer low cost or free programs that address community needs. As a cause-driven organization, the Y believes that everyone, regardless of income, age or background, deserves the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. “It is the passion, talent and commitment of our donors, volunteers, partners and sponsors that enables us to support increasing community needs. With funds raised through our Annual Campaigns in 2014, we were able to provide $769,000 in direct financial assistance to more than 1,300 qualifying individuals, as well as over $600,000 for mission-based programs that are open to the community,” said David M. Carcieri, President and CEO of Somerset County YMCA. Direct financial assistance from Somerset County YMCA branches supports local individuals and families with services they otherwise could not afford, such as child care, summer camp and membership. Additionally, Y branches subsidize mission-based programs and services that benefit the community, including Saturdays in Motion – a free recreational program for children with autism and their families; LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA – a program to help cancer survivors begin the journey to recovery; and the Enhanced Fitness Program – a partnership with Hillsborough Township to give hope and strength to seniors. To more effectively achieve the Y’s mission and better serve communities in Somerset County, Somerset Hills YMCA and Somerset Valley YMCA joined together as one YMCA association, Somerset County YMCA, on January 1, 2015.

“This is an exciting time in the history of our organization,” said Board Chair Pat Hurley. “As welook ahead, we recognize that the need in the community for YMCA services has never been greater. We will use our resources effectively for future growth by ensuring we deliver services that meet the needs of our communities and continue to transform lives.”

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During the campaign kick-off, members shared the impact the Y has had on their lives. Mike Stanford of Branchburg described how the Y supported his wife, Marcia, a long-time fitness instructor at the Hillsborough YMCA who was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. “Every time Marcia showed up, she was met with hugs and smiles and words of encouragement,” he said. When she couldn’t teach or drive, a Y instructor bought her to exercise class. When the classes became too much, Y staff assisted her in the fitness room. “The Y did more than I expected and more than I asked for,” he said “The Y gave her a gift by allowing Marcia to hold onto her passion for fitness and exercise for as long as possible. It is truly a special place that is committed to serving others.”

Jaime Bartushak of Branchburg, a member of Somerset Hills YMCA, has a son with autism. The fiveyears his son has spent attending Saturdays in Motion, a volunteer-led Y recreational program for children with special needs, has been transformative, Mr. Bartushak said.

“He meets with friends and plays with other children, with the one-one-one attention of volunteers, and he enjoys every second of it,” he said “His progress over the years is nothing short of amazing and is in great part attributable to this program.” “The Y has set an impeccable standard of excellence by adhering to the notion that when all children are nurtured and treated with dignity and respect, they will flourish,” Mr. Bartushak added.

The theme of the 2015 campaign is “Better Together,” which reflects Somerset County YMCA’s belief that togetherness is the foundation of a strong community and that through collaboration, there are countless opportunities to enrich lives while addressing critical societal needs. Mark Irwin, volunteer chair of the Annual Campaign for Somerset County YMCA, invited the crowd to join him in making a difference by volunteering and donating to the Y. Donations made to the Y’s Annual Campaign can be designated for a specific Somerset County YMCA branch and will support the local community served by that branch. Somerset County YMCA is grateful to all dedicated volunteers who contribute to the Annual Campaign. To volunteer or for more information about the Y’s Annual Campaign or to make a gift, contact Kelly Castro, Annual Fund Director, at kcastro@somersethillsymca.org or 908.766.7898 ext. 100 or visit www.somersetcountyymca.org/give.

 

About the Somerset County YMCA

The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening the community through youth

development, healthy living and social responsibility. At the Somerset County YMCA, we nurture

the potential of every youth and teen, improve the community’s health and well-being, and provide

opportunities to give back and support neighbors. We believe everyone, regardless of age, income

or background, should have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. For more information about

financial assistance or to make a donation, please call 908-766-7898.