SUMMIT, NJ - Board of Trustees and Branch Advisory Committees members, along with staff and campaign volunteers gathered together to officially launch the Summit Area YMCA's 2017 Annual Campaign. This year’s goal is to raise in excess of $550,000, which will enable the organization to continue to provide financial assistance that ensures the Y’s doors are open to all regardless of their financial circumstance.

in an evening that offered speeches from members of the Summit Area YMCA community whose lives have been enriched through YMCA-subsidized programs, campaign chair and volunteer Kevin Hill welcomed guests and presented Summit Area YMCA President & CEO Paul Kieltyka with a $10,000 donation from the Central Presbyterian Church in Summit.

Laurie Liming, a member of the Berkeley Heights YMCA, shared how LIVESTRONG at the YMCA -- a free 12-week small group recovery program for adult cancer survivors -- has supported her and her two sons through her battle against Stage 3C breast cancer: “I was met with understanding smiles, tissues for my tears, and gentle encouragement.  I was reminded to believe that I could accomplish my physical goals.  I will once again run a 5K, just not today… The LIVESTRONG program has given me back my life.  I am unable to put into words how grateful I am for that gift.”

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Tara Moriello, a high school junior shared how she has grown since she has been enrolled in 'The Achievers Program', a free program that motivates and encourages young adults by giving them the support, direction, and opportunities to pursue their personal, academic, and professional goals. “I have learned more than I could have ever expected from this program. Being a member of Achievers has helped me to gain so much information about college planning, setting career goals, and getting involved.”

Michelle Pallonetti, The Preschool Program Director at The Learning Circle YMCA (TLC), shared a testimony from Angela Grant, a current parent at TLC:  “I am forever thankful for the financial assistance that I receive which allows my daughter to attend TLC while I am at work. I truly feel that the staff at TLC is amazing, from the Toddler classes to the Preschool. TLC is a nurturing environment for all ages… and I can honestly say that I have found the perfect place for my daughter.” 

The Annual Campaign will run from March 1 to April 14.  The Y has already received more than $200,000 in commitments, $79,500 of which was contributed by Y staff. 

For more information or to make a donation to the campaign, visit thesay.org.