A Why The Y Story

September 10, 2019

Fifteen-year-old Madison resident Jake De Guzman is a Y Ninja Gym assistant instructor at the Madison Area YMCA. The Y is pretty lucky to have him—he’s an accomplished, award-winning student of Taekwondo. A USA National Taekwondo Poomsae Team Member, Jake specializes in the discipline of ...

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A group of dance students dressed in pink leotards eagerly await entrance into the room where they will tap, flap and dig their tap shoes and walk delicately on the tips of their ballerina-slipper toes.  It’s 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Madison Area YMCA’s School of Performing Arts. When ...

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When Tirian Chang was a baby he would float around in his mother’s arms at the Madison Area YMCA pool when he took “Mommy and Me” swim classes with his mother, Paige. Imagine the thrill when the Mariners swim team member, now 8, butterflied his way to 1st place at the N.J.Y.M.C.A. 8 & Under ...

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The Kirby bus, as it is affectionately called, pulls up to the Madison Area YMCA’s Family Center. The kids on the bus have just taken a short ride from the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center on East Street to do their sports, swimming, gymnastics, performing arts or enrichment classes. Five-year-old John ...

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Michael Harris comes from a big family—he has six siblings. Incredibly, his heart has room for more. “The Madison Area YMCA staff and members are part of my family,” says the soft-spoken 23-year-old who works as a member services representative at the Madison Area YMCA.  “Michael has a heart of ...

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“My mom works here at the Y,” says 9-year-old Leah Rajnarain, looking out from under her cat face-shaped sleeping mask that’s pushed up above her big brown eyes. It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon and she’s in Kids Central, the Madison Area YMCA’s indoor playground, snuggled up in comfy pajamas ...

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Joy is infectious. If you meet the Fabyanski family of Madison, you’re likely to have a conversation with them and forget that you met them only 10 minutes ago. “I can’t imagine Christmas without selling Christmas trees at the Y,” says Ryan Fabyanski, 19, standing in the middle of the Madison ...

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  Emma Einhorn is still in disbelief of the honor bestowed on her. “Amazing,” says the vivacious, chatty 18 year old, describing how she felt when she attended the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance dinner to accept the Madison Area YMCA’s 2016 Youth Volunteer of the Year award. “To do good for ...

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Rolling a large silver cart filled with tools to fix a faucet in the women’s bathroom of the Family Center, it’s a typical evening for Greg Maulbeck at the Madison Area YMCA. He’s one of the magicians in the maintenance department who ensures that things run smoothly at the Family Center and the ...

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“Week 11,” says a smiling Daniela Chieffo. “How’s everyone doing?” She scans the seven faces in a Madison Area YMCA conference room on a recent Thursday evening. “We’re here.” It’s an affirmation to the group. “I know there were lots of social events, time with family and friends...how did our ...

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“Matt, Matt! Look!” said a small group of 5- and 6-year-old Camp Wantago campers as they jockeyed for position to push their paper ice skates suspended on pipe cleaners toward Matt’s face. “That’s beautiful. Good job!” said Matt. After handing over their “Winter in Summer” projects, the children ...

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On a recent Friday morning at the Madison Area YMCA, Betty Dickson Dudderar has finished her workout in the Fitness Center. She now peers out the windows of the lobby to see if her friend Ann Cascino is driving into the parking lot. At about 9:15 a.m., she recognizes Ann’s silver Avalon pulling ...

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Laura Cluff holds up half a hardboiled egg for her pre-K 4 students to see. She explains the parts of it and puts it into the small hands of a child who inspects it and passes it along to the next set of open hands. Miss Laura conducts the STEAM-based lesson that is a lead-up to the grand finale—an ...

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When Gwen Riddick comes to her job each day at the Madison Area YMCA, among the many items in her purse is a small compact from Korea tucked away in a side pocket that reminds her of the good work that the Y does in the community that she lives and works in. “A little girl from Korea who didn’t ...

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It’s Wednesday afternoon at the Madison Area YMCA. On schedule, right before noon, Dave Carver whizzes through the Family Center’s lobby in his motorized wheelchair wearing a Madison softball cap and headphones that connect him to his cellphone. He greets staff members at the Welcome Center with a ...

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“Mix her cereal with two ounces of formula—her mom said she likes it soupy,” says Ashley Hendricks to Kathy, her assistant lead teacher in Infant 2 at the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA. She slides 10-month old Blake into the highchair between Will and Christopher who have ...

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When Maggie Claudio comes to the Y for work, it is a highlight in her week. As the Madison Area YMCA’s member assistance coordinator, Maggie is a ray of sunshine and a harbinger of hope for people in need who live or work in Madison, Chatham and Florham Park. “You never know who is going to come ...

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As Tim Long carefully eases himself into a chair and rests his cane against a desk in the Madison Area YMCA’s fitness office, it is easy to see the physical limitations caused by the effects of cancer. Words are not necessary. Within moments, the physical maladies blur. A kind, determined and ...

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Our inaugural story in TAP's "WHY THE Y" column features a Madison High School senior whose experience as a volunteer at the Madison Area YMCA has been as impactful on her life as much as she has made an impact on the lives of others.   Before she entered high school, Claire Schaenen knew ...

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