A Why The Y Story

February 27, 2020

Friday afternoons at 4:30 p.m. are a blast for 13 boys enrolled in Y Ninja Fit for Teens at the Madison Area YMCA. The Gymnastics Center is abuzz with the boys running, climbing and jumping over and under obstacles. (Where are you, girls? This is open to you too!) Teens experience the best of ...

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“The best thing that comes out of the Y’s Youth & Government and Mock Trial programs is that kids learn to think critically, practice their research and presentation skills and get used to speaking in front of other people. They overcome being shy,” says Kiana Cunningham, the Madison Area ...

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Reith Gordon, a very funny lady, who turned 95 this month has been exercising at the Madison Area YMCA for 18 years where she has met many good friends at her Monday and Wednesday senior classes. “For a long time, I had been hiding my age,” Reith says, chatting after her chair yoga class ...

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Who doesn’t love Professor? Anyone involved with the Madison Area YMCA Rosettes gymnastics team in the last 25 years knows Vladimir Peleksic, affectionately known as Professor. He has coached, supported and celebrated hundreds of gymnasts during his tenure at the Madison Area YMCA. Now, the ...

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Silvia now swims with her family. That might not sound like big news—but it is. The wife and mother of two didn’t know how to swim and was afraid of the water. One thing Silvia was determined to make sure of as a result? Her daughters Lupe and Luci would learn how to swim. And they did. From the ...

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Fifteen-year-old Madison resident Jake De Guzman is a Y Ninja Gym assistant instructor at the Madison Area YMCA. The Y is pretty lucky to have him—he’s an accomplished, award-winning student of Taekwondo. A USA National Taekwondo Poomsae Team Member, Jake specializes in the discipline of ...

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Fifteen-year-old Madison resident Jake De Guzman is a Y Ninja Gym assistant instructor at the Madison Area YMCA. The Y is pretty lucky to have him—he’s an accomplished, award-winning student of Taekwondo. A USA National Taekwondo Poomsae Team Member, Jake specializes in the discipline of ...

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The Cocco family of Florham Park found a great partner in the Madison Area YMCA’s Project Community Pride counseling service at a time when they needed the support that the program was able to provide. As a guest speaker at the Y’s summertime annual Celebration of Impact barbecue, Beth Cocco ...

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Fourteen years ago when Kara Dugan and her husband Mark Detgen joined the Madison Area YMCA, Kara said it was for one reason: “To get buff for our wedding.”  Shortly after, they started their family and “didn’t see the inside of that gym for a long time,” said Kara—but they did take advantage of ...

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Jill Corea, a preschool teacher at the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA, has won the Helene Marks Award, which bestows on her the distinction of National Child Care Teacher of the Year. One of 50 national winners of a Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s TYLENOL® National Child Care ...

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Jon Siegel was born with a condition known as hyaline membrane, a serious infant respiratory ailment that required the assistance of a hyperbaric chamber to help him breathe. Thankfully, the hospital had the equipment to save him--making him part of the first generation of survivors of the ...

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Edward Duffy, who attends the Parkinson’s disease class at the Madison Area YCMA, was diagnosed five months ago. “I’m working with Parkinson’s as best as I can,” says Edward who has tremors in his left hand and lip. “The Parkinson’s class here is very good,” says the retired marketing ...

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Jill Corea’s pre-K 3 classroom at the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA is a wonderland of colorful rainbows, bright sunshines and showers of happiness. Winner of a Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Award, Jill’s classroom reflects her winning ...

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Aaron Goodwin is celebrating his two-year anniversary as the Madison Area YMCA’s Associate Sports Director. He has lots to celebrate—the first being that he loves his job. Coaching the Lady Gators travel basketball teams U12 and U14 is a true highlight. This spring, he is welcoming the Y’s first ...

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More than 50 people of all ages recently met at the Madison Area YMCA’s TOGETHERHOOD® event to sort through tons of soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste and mouthwash to fill more than 400 toiletry kits for the homeless.  An amazing part about the event was the level of community ...

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“I came to the Y because I didn’t know anybody when we moved here 7 years ago from Colorado,” says Erin Holt, whose children were 5, 2 and 1 at the time. “I wanted to meet people and have a place to work that could offer a work/family balance. The Madison Area YMCA gave me both.” Through the years, ...

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“I’m coming up on 88 years old and few people believe that,” says Bill Williams. Why don’t they? Because I have belonged to a Y somewhere since I was 12 years old.” Bill joined his first YMCA in 1943 in Hamilton, Ontario, where he grew up and went to college. “There was little ...

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Chelsea Sacher forms a special bond with clients she works with at the Madison Area YMCA. Most of them live with conditions that are life-changing. Chelsea pours her heart and soul into helping them overcome a negative life-change to make it as positive an experience as possible. As the health ...

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Being out on the bocce court at the Madison Area YMCA’s annual charity bocce tournament this fall had a special significance for Jim Patterson. The tournament, which raises funds for the Y’s paths to wellness programming, includes LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. Jim knows LIVESTRONG well. “Beautiful Beth” ...

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MADISON, NJ - Tony Ottino is a cancer survivor. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation for sarcoma, a rare cancer, at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Tony’s oncologist recommended the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program. At first, Tony didn’t want to do it—he had been through so much; but, he recognized ...

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“LIVESTRONG at the YMCA made me see my power,” says cancer survivor Pam Cucco. “It was a game changer. I immediately made use of the program at the Madison Area YMCA in order to work out—not only to physically rehabilitate but to ‘work out’ all that disappointment, hesitancy and apprehension.” Pam ...

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Six-year-old Emma Khoury is a dancer. She recently performed with her class at the Madison Area YMCA’s School of Performing Arts Year-End performance, “When I Grow Up” that took place at The College of St. Elizabeth’s Annunciation Center. The first grader, who began her journey with dance at the ...

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Sue Ellyn Pagano Huizing, a former Madison Area YMCA gymnastics director who retired from the Y in 2001 was fondly remembered after her passing at a gathering of former Rosettes and coaches at the Madison Area YMCA. Women who had been Rosettes during the 1980s and 90s and coaches came from near ...

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Maryanne Mecca, a yoga instructor who has been part of the Madison Area YMCA staff for the past three years, has had the YMCA in her life since childhood. The Y was also part of her children’s lives growing up and now her grandchildren’s lives. “I love teaching here,” says Maryanne, noting the ...

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“Communication of any kind is crucial for thriving in the world and creating valuable connections with a wide array of people. Through sign language, children can form bonds with adults and other children despite their ability to verbalize at the same developmental level.”—Stephanie ...

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Gwen Lukasavage, 14, has grown up at the Madison Area YMCA. As a 10-month old, she took Mommy & Me swim classes with her mom, Jeanne. As a toddler, she attended the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center’s 2-year-old program followed by pre-K 3, pre-K4 and kindergarten. Kirby holds a special place in the ...

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The Madison Area YMCA has an Hourly Club for staff members. It’s a pretty admirable membership. “Through the Hourly Club, staff members live the Y mission,” says Madison Area YMCA Associate Development Director Leigh Anne Soroka who is the Annual Campaign director. Funds raised during the ...

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Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are days of “joy” each week for Irene Mead. A Madison Area YMCA member for six years, Irene takes the Joy Dance Aerobics class where she comes for an hour and 15 minutes to work out in a place where she feels welcomed and inspired. “Joy is a very focused, ...

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Carole Soder is one of those people that you meet and instantly feel the warmth. You walk away feeling like you’ve known her forever. And, a lot of people in the area probably do know her. She’s been a school counselor in the Chatham public schools for 21 years. Everyone at the Madison Area YMCA ...

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For cancer survivors and people going through cancer, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA can be a vital program for them to get started back on their paths to health and wellness and embrace their new “normal.” Katie Worden and Erin Long, whose families were affected by cancer, understand this concept and ...

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