MADISON, NJ - Rich community programming and youth development are just two of the many reasons the Madison Chamber of Commerce selected the Madison Area YMCA as the 76th organization to win the award for 'Merchant of the Month'. 

According to its mission, the Madison Area YMCA is a cause-driven charitable organization dedicated to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y is inclusive of all people and offers programs and services that develop a healthy spirit, mind and body, and promote the Y core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.

“Our Y is pleased to have served this wonderful and vibrant community for more than 140 years. As a cause-driven charitable organization, all are invited to be enriched by the Y, regardless of income or background,” said Diane Mann, Madison Area YMCA President& CEO.

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Founded in 1873, the Madison Area YMCA serves the community from two facilities in Madison, the Family Center at 111 Kings Road and the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center at 54 East Street. The Y also serves the community at its Project Community Pride of the Madison Area YMCA office.

At the Family Center, the Y offers a range of youth sports, swimming, gymnastics, performing arts, youth leadership programs, enrichment classes and summer day camp as well as extensive workout facilities. The Family center is home to a travel basketball team, travel soccer teams and competitive swimming and gymnastics teams.

Enriching community wellness and health-enhancing programs are available to all in the community. Programs include: LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, a no-fee cancer survivors’ program; Diabetes Prevention Program, a “lifestyle change” program that helps adults at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes reduce their risk by taking steps that will improve their overall health and well-being; EnhanceFitness, an arthritis management program for  active older adults that combines strength training, flexibility and cardiovascular conditioning; and Partners In Prevention, a community-wide child sexual abuse prevention program. 

Additional programs include: The Community Mental Health Initiative, a program that focuses on reducing stigma associated with mental illness and addressing barriers to mental health care by increasing knowledge and equipping lay mental health supporters with skills to increase help-offering behaviors including training in Mental Health First Aid; and Project Community Pride of the Madison Area YMCA, a local youth counseling program, which serves children and their families in the Chathams, Florham Park and Madison.

Across town at the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center, the Y offers quality childcare, early childhood education and summer day camps. One of the largest early childhood education centers in the area, the Kirby Center offers programs and

care for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, Young 5 students and kindergartners as well as Before- and After-School Care and a Kindergarten Wraparound program. 

Programming at the Kirby facility also includes Talking Tots, a half-day toddler program with an intensive focus on speech and language acquisition and development taught by a specially trained teaching team under the direction of a licensed speech and language pathologist.

Initially serving as an elementary school, the Kirby Center is specifically designed for young children. The center has a full-size gym, a full kitchen that serves snacks and meals developed by a staff nutritionist, a registered nurse on staff and five state-of-the-art playgrounds to serve all age groups.

The Kirby center is a member of the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and a participating partner in the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey’s Healthy U program that teaches children the importance of physical activity and healthful nutrition. Financial assistance may be available for eligible families.

Each year, the Madison Area YMCA’s holds an Annual Campaign to raise awareness and funds for Y financial assistance that enables hundreds of children and families to participate in Y membership, programs, services and camps at the Family Center and childcare, early childhood education and summer camps at its F.M. Kirby Children’s Center.

The six to eight week Annual Campaign that takes place during the winter, led by a group of more than 60 dedicated volunteer campaigners, is one of the ways that allows the Madison Area YMCA to assist anyone who resides or works in the Madison, Chatham and Florham Park area. Support is provided based on demonstrated need, with the goal that no one be turned away from membership regarding income or background.

“We continually strive to offer the best resources for healthy living at the Y, including innovative health and wellness programs to help residents achieve their health and wellness goals,” said Mann.  “The Y is a place to belong for life.”

The Merchant of the Month Award recognizes businesses for their contributions to keeping the Madison business district inviting and prosperous through the upkeep and design of their properties. The award program is administered by the Chamber and the Madison Downtown Development Commission. They alternate selections monthly.