EAST ORANGE, NJ - The East Orange YMCA has named city resident Washima Redding as the branch’s newest Executive Director.

Redding succeeds former Executive Director James Forde. Krys Jensen has been serving as interim Executive Director since Forde’s departure in October of 2019.

Redding has been Associate Executive Director at the Greater Bergen County YMCA, a branch of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges, since May of 2019. Prior to that, she spent eight years as Senior Health and Wellness Director at the YMCA of Montclair in Essex County.

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While at the Greater Bergen Y in Hackensack, she helped secure a $20,000 grant to launch a Senior Wellness Initiative to encourage older adults be more active, socialize, and improve their overall quality of life. She also bolstered the expansion of school-age child care programs to include care before school, and incorporate more STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) and social-emotional learning curricula into these programs.

Redding will transition to her new role at East Orange on March 9, where she’ll work closely with James Goodger, the District Executive Director for the South Mountain YMCA in Maplewood, a branch of the Metro YMCA association, to grow the Y’s impact.

“We are so thrilled that Washima will soon be leading the East Orange YMCA,” said Goodger. “Washima is a perfect fit for our staff, for our volunteers, for our members and families. She is a true advocate for the mission of the Y and a dedicated, highly motivational leader who has the local knowledge and love of East Orange that will put this incredible organization on the map at a whole new level.”   

In addition to her primary responsibilities of managing the East Orange Y’s employees and operations, she wants to focus on spurring community engagement and increasing program offerings, specifically in the areas of aquatics, chronic diseases, senior wellness, and youth sports.

Redding aspires to expand child care and camp programs to multiple school districts, and increase fundraising efforts to support the Y’s programs and services. She plans to implement a “Call to Action” campaign that would galvanize more people in the community to donate as individuals or through partnerships with the Y.

“I want people to know that the East Orange Y is so much more than a child care center,” said Redding. “My vision for the Y is that we become the beacon of the community and leader in programming and services in the area of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.”

Redding, a Newark native who learned to swim at her local Y, understands the impact that the Y has on youth development first-hand. She and her husband have a 4-year-old daughter who attends the early childhood, school age child-care, and summer camp programs at the East Orange Y.

“Living in the community, I have a personal investment, responsibility, and commitment to seeing East Orange thrive,” said Redding. “East Orange is an underserved community that is deserving of the same opportunities awarded to more affluent areas.”

Redding developed a passion for health and wellness during her college career at Rutgers University, where she studied exercise science and sport studies.

She has extensive experience in introducing programs that have improved the quality of life for hundreds of people. As the Senior Health and Wellness Director at the YMCA of Montclair for nearly eight years, Redding introduced five chronic disease programs addressing cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and high blood pressure. Prior to joining the Y professionally, Redding worked for a medical facility helping people recover from chronic illnesses, and then at an assisted living facility developing wellness programs for seniors.

One accomplishment she is most proud of is starting a 10-week team weight loss initiative called “Lose to Win” at the Montclair Y, which provided a support network for people looking to lose weight and be healthier. Many of the participants still exercise together today.

Redding been recognized several times for her work throughout her career, including as winner of the Best Community Gym for three consecutive years in Essex County, for the YMCA of Montclair and was the 2016 New Jersey State Alliance Healthy Living Champion.

"Washima's leadership experience, her commitment to the growth and development of the Y, as well as her passion for strengthening diverse communities make her the perfect fit for this role. We are excited to see the positive impact she will have on the Y and in the community of East Orange,” said Ed Philipp, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges.

“Washima has already proven she is a cause-driven leader who inspires positive, healthful change in people’s lives," said Richard K. Gorab, president and CEO of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. "Her commitment to the Y’s mission of healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility will ensure more children and families can thrive at the Y.”

ABOUT THE Y

Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges invests in its diverse communities to promote wellness, safety and quality of life for children, adults and seniors. Its seven branches in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hackensack, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility through an array of programs. Some 35,000 people belong to the Metro Y, which awards more than $2.8 million annually in direct and indirect financial assistance.