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

Sleep out at Covenant House

June 18, 2018

I can enjoy the same movies over and over like it were the first time to see them.  My kids roll their eyes at this.  Well, many unimaginable things happen as you become a certain age, and you tend to learn to accept those things graciously as gift.   But I remember the movie “The Blind Side.”  Until I saw that movie, I didn’t know homeless children ...

Summit Community Blood Drive is Sunday; First 50 donors Will Get a Free Union Theater Movie Pass

June 19, 2018

The weather may have just started to warm up, but New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS) is already urging the public to donate blood as we head into the summer months.  With schools closing and vacations scheduled, less people donate blood from June through August but transfusions are still needed for local patients.   

“We’re especially thankful to our dedicated donors ...

Union County College Hires New Dean of Humanities

CRANFORD – Dr. Melissa R. Sande is the new Dean of Humanities for Union County College. Dr. Sande joined Union in the fall of 2013 as a full-time instructor of English. She has more than ten years of teaching experience and has previously served as a program coordinator, writing tutor, and an adjunct instructor.

As the Dean of Humanities, Dr. Sande will be responsible for the supervision ...

Summit Area YMCA Swim Team Tryouts July 24

On Tuesday, July 24, the Summit Area YMCA will hold tryouts for its 2018-2019 Swim Team. The tryouts are open to children of all ages, from the surrounding towns of Summit, New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Chatham, Millburn, Short Hills, Watchung, Long Hill, Mountainside and Springfield.

THE FEE TO TRYOUT IS $25 PER SWIMMER. PRE-REGISTRATION IS AVAILABLE AND ENCOURAGED AT THE FRONT DESK OF ...

Very special "Annie, Jr." coming June 29-July 1 at Rahway High School

The CAU Community Players will be staging a very special production of "Annie, Jr." at the Rahway High School Center for Performing Arts on Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 1, at 2:00 p.m.

The CAU Community Players is a troupe of actors both with and without developmental disabilities. Formed in 2012, the troupe empowers members with disabilities ...

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 ...

What's Hot and What's Not

Summer is a great time to take a step back, sip a cool beverage, and take a look at what’s going on in the world of college admissions.  Departments use the summer to evaluate how their year went and plan on any changes they want to make for the fall.  Did they over-enroll? Under-enroll?  What application materials were useful to them?  Which were redundant or time ...

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 ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...