Education

Press Releases

Summit Area YMCA Introduces New Special Needs Programs

Safe & Welcoming Spaces | Susan & Paul's Story Credits: Summit Area YMCA

It was November 2016 when the first Sundays in Motion event took place in the Summit YMCA. Modeled after the successful Somerset Hills YMCA program, the newly adapted Sundays in Motion event enabled families with special needs children to enjoy 2 hours of free gym play time and supervised swimming in the pool. While simple in concept, the program itself filled a gap within the community that families with special needs children often faced—a lack of safe spaces, places and things to do with their children.

“It might not seem like much to some,” said Paul Kieltyka, President and CEO of the Summit YMCA, “but for others, especially families with special needs children, having a safe, welcoming place to bring their kids to have fun means a lot. Some children—they might be affected by loud noises, certain colors, smells. They might have trouble communicating. It could be any number of things, but certain families can’t just up and go somewhere else for vacation with their kids like other families can. And that’s where the Y comes in. Come here, have fun together, make friends, enjoy the pool. We’re providing a space for people to relax, connect, and be happy. It’s wonderful.”

Having started with three families, the Sundays in Motion program has now evolved to serving over 27 participating families from throughout the area. The program is overseen by Y staff along with caring volunteers, donating their time and company to supervise the safety of the families and children participating. As a member of the Diversity, Inclusion and Global Innovation Network, the Summit Area YMCA is committed to bridge building and encouraging a welcoming atmosphere within the community. The Y is made up of people from all walks of life who are joined together by a shared commitment to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.

Sign Up for E-News

“As kids with special abilities, I am always looking for a place for them to develop better, for them to enjoy and have a good time.” said Carmen, a Sundays in Motion parent of a program participant. “Before the YMCA opened this program, it was more complicated for us to find a place where our kids could have a fun time, where they could have the freedom to play, a place where they would not be seen as kids that don’t fit in. I am deeply grateful with the Y and they enjoy it very much, so it makes me very happy here.”

With the success of the Sundays in Motion program, the Summit Area YMCA has been introducing more new programs and classes geared towards individuals with special needs. From yoga classes to Adaptive Swim Lessons, as well as Friday Night, Friends & Fun teen night events hosted at the Saint Bartholemew Church, the expansion of Special Needs programming within the Summit Area YMCA and its community partners has been met with appreciative and positive feedback.

“Prior to joining the Y we had just moved here. Just the sense of welcoming [at the Y], you know from the minute you come through the door, even down to the people who greeted us immediately, it really struck me as inclusive.” said Susan, parent to a program participant in the Berkeley Heights YMCA’s special needs programs. “[The Y] gives such a great opportunity for him to be around his friends from school and to meet new people. [The programs and classes are] structured so it helps him fit in. He loves doing the Ashrams for Yoga class and would never miss it. He even used his allowance money to buy yoga DVDs, which we do together at home. One of his favorite things recently was the dodgeball night that they had and he still talks about it.”

As a charitable organization, the Y is focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.Supporting families and the community in their efforts to spread cultural awareness and appreciation for diversity is core to the Y’s mission to help all people learn, grow, and thrive.

To see Special Needs offerings at the Summit Area YMCA, please visit www.theSAY.org/specialneeds

To learn more about the Diversity, Inclusion and Global Innovation Network, please visit www.thesay.org/dig.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Your Doctor in Sickness and in Health

December 11, 2017

About 3 years ago, around the time healthcare was saying its last goodbyes to solo practitioners, I decided to plunge into the world of private practice and one morning announced to my family, “I am starting a new primary care solo practice.” I am an Internist of Asian Indian origin and I graduated from residency about twenty years ago. To say that my family was bewildered is an ...

Chatham Rotary Club Offers Luminary Kits

December 11, 2017

Luminary Kits are now available. The Chatham Rotary is proud to be offering luminary kits again this year. We would not be able to do this fundraiser without the continued and generous support of Chatham Moving & Storage. For many years they have generously helped us with unloaded and storing 10 pallets of kitty litter!! We all appreciate the help of ShopRite of Chatham. The kits ...

New Jersey Veterans Eligible for Income Tax Exemption

UNION COUNTY, NJ--The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders would like veterans to know they may be eligible for an exemption on their income taxes this year.

Military veterans honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty by the last day of the tax year are eligible for a $3,000 exemption on their Income Tax return.

Spouses and civil union partners are ...

“The Art of Flower and Garden Photography” Presentation with photographer, Brien Szabo

Please join the Hanson Park Conservancy on Tuesday, January 16th at 7:30 PM at the Cranford Community Center for the presentation, “The Art of Flower and Garden Photography” with photographer, Brien Szabo. Mr. Szabo will show how anyone can take great pictures with any kind of camera, from a phone to a simple point and shoot, to an expensive DSLR. He will also go over a variety of ...

Community Access Unlimited to hold open auditions for "Annie, Jr." in January

The CAU Community Players will be holding open auditions for their 2018 production of "Annie, Jr." Tuesday, Jan. 16, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 18, 6:00-8:00 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 20, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., with callbacks 1:00-3:00 p.m. All auditions will take place in the auditorium of Community Access Unlimited (CAU) at 80 West Grand Street, Elizabeth, 07202.

The CAU ...

Winter Weather Advisory Issued as First Snowfall of the Season Arrives on Saturday

December 8, 2017

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - - The first snowfall of the season will be arriving on Saturday morning according to the National Weather Service(NWS) in New York. 

A “Winter Weather Advisory” is in effect from 6 a.m. Saturday morning until 6 a.m. on Sunday.

According to the NWS advisory, Union County can expect snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches, with the possibility of ...

Don't Miss These Garden State Holiday Light Delights

December 11, 2017

NEW JERSEY - There are so many fun, family-friendly holiday activities it’s hard to pack them all in. However, if you’re looking for something simple that’s a throwback to your own childhood, make time to see these fabulous light displays that really get folks in the holiday mood.

Jenkinson’s Sea of Lights - Summer isn’t the only time to hit the boardwalk in ...

ConRail Working on Track Clean Up Following Friday's Derailment in Union; Train Service Still Suspended

December 9, 2017

UNION, NJ – No hazardous material was involved in the freight train derailment Friday afternoon in Union.

“There’s severe damage to the tracks,” said Union Fire Chief Mike Scanio at a press conference Friday evening.  “There’s multiple piles of cars at different locations up and down the span of the tracks from the Roselle Park line all the way through ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, December 11

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Mon, December 11, 12:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Senior Holiday Luncheon at the YMCA

Religions And Spirituality

Tue, December 12

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, December 13

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Dear Susan: Beauty Tips from a Beauty Expert

SUSAN BARBAGLIA, owner of Skin Deep Salon and Spa in New Providence, offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a leader in the beauty industry. With over thirty years experience in skin care, Susan can answer your most challenging beauty questions. Email your ...

Market Forecasts: Helpful or Useless?

The financials industry spends a lot of time and money on preparing stock and bond market forecasts – especially at this time of year --  but are they “helpful” or “useless” when it comes to making investment decisions?  In my opinion, most of these forecasts have little predictive power. In other words, they’re useless in terms of providing ...

The Mommy's Review - Coco

Corre, no camines (that’s “run, don’t walk!”) to see Coco, the newest animated feature film from Pixar Animation Studios/Disney. This beautiful movie is something that families will cherish seeing together. Like Moana last year, I took my family (ages 7 to 70+) to see Coco over Thanksgiving weekend, and everyone was delighted by the splendor of this wonderful cinematic ...