Press Releases

Healthy U Spring Symposium Marks 10 Years of Community Impact

L-R: Suzette de Araujo, Orange Avenue School; Lucy Diaz, Hillside Avenue School; Amanda Aguirre, Westfield Area YMCA; and Mark Elsasser, Westfield Area YMCA.

WESTFIELD, NJ — More than 100 Healthy U champions and partners from YMCAs and schools from all over the state gathered at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on May 18 to celebrate 10 years of community impact. Healthy U was also formally presented with the 2017 CATCH® Award for Excellence in State Health. 

CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) is the nationally-recognized curriculum used in the program. This award recognizes the partnership between the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and its 36 member associations for Healthy U’s efforts to promote nutrition education and increased physical activity in schools and YMCA childcare settings, advocating for policies that support healthy environments, and convening partners across the state to create a positive collective health impact. Because of the many initiatives made possible by Healthy U, New Jersey kids and families report that they are eating more fruits and vegetables, and consuming fewer processed and sugary foods. They are spending more time being physically active and less time in front of screens.

Attendees also participated in physical activity workshops such as: “Get Focused: Empowering Youth to Read and Exercise Fitness and Literacy Boot Camp” with Golden Martinez and “Yogapalooza: How to immediately incorporate yoga & mindfulness with music, beloved activities, tips, tools and creative relaxation” with Bari Koral and participation games with CATCH and QB54.

Sign Up for E-News

The Healthy U program launched in 2008 as a collaboration between The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance with the goal of promoting healthy behavior and preventing childhood obesity through more physical activity, family involvement and nutrition education. “Over 76,000 children and their families have experience Healthy U over the past 10 years at 480 YMCA early learning and afterschool sites and 70 schools across the state,” says Sue Cornell, Healthy U director NJ YMCA State Alliance, “that’s a collective impact that would fill the stands of this stadium.”

“It is critical to engage parents to get them more involved with their children to learn about good nutrition and the importance of daily exercise,” said Jonathan R. Pearson, director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and executive director of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. “Childhood obesity can and must be overcome and with the support of more than 100 leaders coming together, it is our collective commitment and vast network of health advocates that will help us reach this attainable goal.” 


Since Healthy U’s inception in 2008, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey has invested more than $4.7 million to sustain the program through 2019. For more information on this program contact your local Y or Sue Cornell, Healthy U Director, NJ YMCA State Alliance at or visit  Follow on social media at @YHealthyU.


The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.



Pictured here: Westfield Area YMCA staff and Cranford School partners attend the Healthy U Spring Symposium at MetLife Stadium. Pictured L-R: Suzette de Araujo, Orange Avenue School; Lucy Diaz, Hillside Avenue School; Amanda Aguirre, Westfield Area YMCA and Mark Elsasser, Westfield Area YMCA.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


U.S. Junior Amateur: Michael Thorbjornsen Rallies to Edge Akshay Bhatia for Title

July 22, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Find a way. Just find a way to grind and maybe an opportunity will present itself.

16-year old and seventh-seed Michael Thorbjornsen of Wellesley, Mass. did just that on Saturday afternoon as he edged fellow 16-year-old and good friend 12th-seeded Akshay Bhatia of Wake Forest, North Carolina, 1 up, to capture the 71st annual USGA U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at ...

Rutgers Hikes Tuition, Student Fees for 2018-2019 Academic Year

July 19, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University Board of Governors today approved a 2.3 percent hike in tuition and fees, as well as increases for dorm rooms and meals, for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The increase now brings the annual cost for undergraduate students to $14,975, which is $337 more than this past school year.

Student housing will increase 1.9 percent, and ...

Emma's Brick Oven Announces New Events

July 22, 2018

Check out our upcoming events at Emma's!!

Tuesday, July 24th - Kids Night Out featuring "P.J. Mask" from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

Saturdays and Sundays - Kids make their own pizzas from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

Monday, July 30th - Date Night featuring Paul Fasone singing songs by Frank Sinatra from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

You can now book pizza parties at Emmas! ...

Westfield Area YMCA: Take Swim Lessions This Summer

The Westfield Area YMCA is providing a free one-week guest pass to non-members which will also enable access to purchase a week of swim lessons at full member rates during the summer.  The one-week guest pass includes use of the Y’s fitness facilities, land and water group exercise classes and open gym/swim.

“Our goal is to have people of all ages and skill levels grow to ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, July 24, 5:30 PM

Emma's Brick Oven, Cranford

Emma's Kids Night Out!

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Wed, July 25, 2:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

Cranford Emergency Blood Drive - Pair of NY Mets ...

Giving Back Health & Wellness


Sat, July 28, 12:00 PM

Clark Recreation Center, Clark

Clark PD vs Clark FD BBQ Cook-Off

Food & Drink Police & Fire

Tired of Cronyism? Yeah, Us Too!

July 20, 2018

The Union County Freeholders’ decision to appoint State Senator and newly-elected Union County Democratic Chairman, Nick Scutari’s chief of staff, Ed Oatman as County Manager smelled of corruption from the start. To place a political consultant like Oatman in the role of overseeing 2,800 employees and running the day-to-day operations of the $500 million county budget suggests ...