Social isolation is the overwhelming feeling of being left out, lonely or treated as invisible. It is a growing epidemic in the U.S. and within our schools. Feb. 5-9 was "Start with Hello" week.

An initiative of the Sandy Hook Promise, the week taught children how to reach out and include those who may be dealing with social isolation. The initiative helps create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within schools. To honor this initiative and to help start a dialogue, kindergarten and school-age students at the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA wrote notes to answer the prompt question: "What does kindness mean to you?"

For more information about the Kirby Center, please contact F.M. Kirby Children’s Center Director of Child Care Services Ashley Diehl at 973-377-4945 x3226.  

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The F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA is one of the largest early childhood development centers and provides exceptional quality in child care and curriculum-based early childhood education for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, Young 5 students and kindergartners.

As a former elementary school, the Kirby Center facility is specifically designed for children. Located on almost three acres of property, the center houses a full-size gym, a kitchen that serves snacks and meals, a pediatric registered nurse on staff and five state-of-the-art playgrounds for all age groups.

The F.M. Children’s Kirby Center is a member of the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance, a participating partner in the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey initiative to implement school-based food, nutrition and physical education programs and is also a flagship center for the Healthy U program which teaches preschool children the importance of physical activity and healthful nutrition. Financial assistance may be available for eligible families.

As a cause-driven charitable organization, the Madison Area YMCA is dedicated to nurturing the potential of every child and teen, and improving the community’s health and well-being and giving back by providing support to our neighbors.