Education

Press Releases

Summit Area YMCA Introduces New Special Needs Programs

Safe & Welcoming Spaces | Susan & Paul's Story Credits: Summit Area YMCA
997f9a3f1e58545e7e60_ba666110d9868dc54c83_DSC_0638.JPG
c145e04c1ffb1b342623_DSC_0646.JPG
18297f1847de4a18df7a_DSC_0670.JPG
71ec1c746fd04c76d230_IMG_0304.jpg
b75da1900cbc568ab654_IMG_1511.JPG
3d98596f74af5b187055_IMG_1549.JPG
33f60129f70cb9da8657_IMG_7645.JPG
8ce7d530976cff65a1fb_IMG_7655.JPG
9a9b460cef97d212ae2f_IMG_7680.JPG
2f813bc02b68c718c4d3_IMG_7709.JPG
3dd3b9203565ddeaab0a_IMG_8714.JPG
076d0c14f2302bd559e1_IMG_8741.JPG
997f9a3f1e58545e7e60_ba666110d9868dc54c83_DSC_0638.JPG

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

TOGETHER we continue to make Berkeley Heights a great place to live and work

June 3, 2018

Elected officials are obligated to undertake difficult challenges. There are those which are thrust upon us, like affordable housing, and those which must be addressed to keep our Township moving in a positive direction – like the New Municipal Complex. Our citizens trust and expect their municipal government to act in their best short and long-term interests.

During my nine ...

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 10, 2018

Dear Editor:

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by ...

Refugee Assistance Partners of NJ to Host World Refugee Day Event

June 17, 2018

Refugee Assistance Partners (RAP) of New Jersey will be hosting a World Refugee Day program on Wednesday, June 20, 7 pm at Willow Grove Church, 1961 Raritan Rd, Scotch Plains.  RAP, a non-profit, volunteer organization of Union County, recognizes and salutes the tenacity and gifts, skills and talents of refugees worldwide.  Spokesperson, Jill Segulin said, “We recognize the ...

Drawings by Mel Holston on Exhibit at Pearl Street Gallery

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to present an exhibit of drawings by Plainfield resident Mel Holston, located in the gallery space at the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs at 633 Pearl Street in Elizabeth.

A selection of Mr. Holston’s work titled, “Motherland: Life in Black and White,” will be on display at the gallery until August ...

Music, Classic Cars and Food Truck Festival Make Up Fanwood Summer FanJam

FANWOOD, NJ -- Unforgettable Fire, the New York area's premier U2 tribute band, will headline the second annual Fanwood Summer FanJam, a daylong music, classic cars, and food truck festival held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 8, in LaGrande Park.

The gig will literally be walking distance away from the home of Craig Kiell, the bassist for the popular band, which plays festivals, ...

Challenge Your Children with Our Fun-Size Development Program!

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today” - Malcolm X

The Summit Area YMCA recognizes the potential in every child. We strive to provide the environment and resources for all youth to learn, grow, and thrive. With nurturing and supportive staff, enriching curriculum and programs, and a strong built-in value system, children are able to not only reach ...

Watchung Borough Mayor and Council Approve Affordable Housing Settlement

June 9, 2018

WATCHUNG, NJ -The Watchung Borough Council voted on Thursday night  to settle its third round affordable housing obligation mandated by the state of New Jersey. Watchung Borough’s immunity from builder's remedy lawsuits  expires on June 30.

 Mayor Stephen Pote was forced to cast the deciding vote after the council deadlocked at 3-3.

Scotch Plains Mayor Al Smith Attends Gun Safety Bills Signing Ceremony with Gov. Murphy in Trenton

June 14, 2018

TRENTON, NJ -- Mayor Al Smith attended a gun safety package bill signing ceremony at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton on Wednesday with Governor Phil Murphy. Mayor Smith joined a bipartisan group of local and state elected officials, as well as members of Moms Demand Action of Union County, at the event. 

“As a leader in Sandy Hook Promise, I was happy to accept the ...

Union County Freeholders Support LGBTQ Community with Historical Pride Flag Raising Ceremony

June 4, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ - The rainbow flag, a symbol of pride and independence fly’s high at the Union County Courthouse in recognition of June as LGBTQ Pride Month. 

This historic event by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the Office of LGBTQ Services, Department of Human Services and many others, brought dignitaries and people from all over New Jersey to the steps of the ...

Rebecca Williams of Plainfield Appointed to Freeholder Board

UNION COUNTY, NJ---Rebecca Williams, a former Plainfield Councilwoman, has been appointed to fill an unexpired term on the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Freeholder Williams, who will be ceremonially sworn in at the upcoming Freeholder meeting on June 7,  was chosen by the Union County Democratic Committee to complete the term left vacant by former Freeholder Linda Carter, who ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, June 20, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

The Masterwork Chorus Launches 19th Summer Sing ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_3e68b1f0c65d22cd79bc_d6a71058d531d31a8cff_achievers

Mon, June 25

Summit YMCA, Summit

June 2018 College Tour

Education

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Madison

Kids' Critter Camp

Education

Mon, June 25, 10:00 AM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Summer Reading Kick-Off: Eyes of the Wild

Arts & Entertainment

Berkeley Heights Here and Now: May Edition

Berkeley Heights Here and Now

https://youtu.be/-Z6bxdOIRrk

How to Design Your Ideal Retirement

Would you like to design your ideal retirement? Where do you begin? First of all, what does retirement mean to you? If you’re in a relationship, does retirement mean the same to you as it does to your partner? Do you know if your “ideal retirement” is affordable or just a pipe dream?

In past generations, retirement planning didn’t involve very much. You stopped work ...