“There are really kids that can’t afford to learn how to swim?” was the response from 8-year-old Colin Szonyi when his mother, Erin, explained the purpose of the Madison Area YMCA’s Swim for a Cause. That was it. He was in.

The Florham Park Briarwood School student, who takes swim lessons at the Y, swam 120 freestyle laps in 90 minutes. “I had to keep making him take little breaks. He just wanted to keep going,” laughs Erin, who reinforces that swimming is a life skill that everyone should learn even if they can’t afford it. The Y couldn’t agree more. That’s why the Y’s Annual Campaign raises funds to ensure that everyone who wants to learn how to swim can. Providing health and wellness opportunities for everyone in the community is the Y’s mission.

Swimming is a great exercise for everybody. For Colin, it’s excellent. Erin explains that swimming is beneficial because it puts deep pressure on the body that calms the whole system, making it good for both the body and the mind. The health of the mind is another area that the Y provides support.

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Although Erin’s family has never used the services of Project Community Pride of the Madison Area YMCA, she supports the efforts of the program because, as she says, ”Project Community Pride bridges the gap between children, parents, teachers and the police. It’s helping make connections with the ways kids behave and affect each other. It’s about social integration—something that all kids need,” adding, “Lots of families who need support and counseling services can’t afford it so it’s important that the Y is here to provide it.”

Erin says that the Madison Area YMCA has been her family’s savior because of its large number of non-competitive sports offerings for children.  “Thank God the Y is here to offer these programs because my kids have learned how to play different sports in a fun non-competitive environment. The instructors are outstanding—so personable,” she says, noting that all the kids who take Y classes are happy.

“The community needs the Y,” says Erin. “They understand what the community needs. They’re doing good for all.”

And, the Y is expecting Colin back for Swim for a Cause next year!