LIVINGSTON, NJ — When Matthew Jarmel was a single dad raising twins, the West Essex YMCA  in Livingston played an important role for the family. His son, Benjamin, who has autism, learned to swim there and then swam competitively with the Piranhas Special Olympics swim team.

“It really built his confidence,” said Jarmel, who recently became one of six new members of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges Board of Directors, which provides leadership to the association and its seven branches, including the West Essex YMCA. “I’m really excited to get involved.”

Jarmel, an owner and principal of Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers, Inc., has extensive expertise in building child care centers, a key offering of the Metro YMCA branches. According to Jarmel, the Livingston-based firm that his father founded in 1975 has created more than 300 child care centers across the country. It has 62 full-time employees, including 12 registered architects and seven professional engineers.

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“Not only will Matt contribute his impressive leadership skills, but he’ll serve as a much needed resource as we plan for future facility growth and expansion,” said Richard Gorab, president and chief executive officer of the Metro YMCAs.

Jarmel trained in architecture at New Jersey Institute of Technology, and then earned an MBA in real estate development and urban land use from Rutgers University. In addition to architecture and real estate, his passions include travel and antique cars. He owns a 1958 Jaguar, as well as a 1984 Mercedes convertible.

Jarmel and his wife, Gena, have four children between them: 17-year-old Benjamin, 17-year-old Hanna,  20-year-old David, and 23-year-old Larissa.

He noted that the Metro YMCA’s swim program is of particular interest to him, because the experience has made such an impact on Benjamin. Jarmel’s connection to the West Essex YMCA goes back to childhood, as he attended day camp as a preschooler and, like his son, learned to swim there.