Registration begins August 15th, for the new class of 7th Grade Initiative members at The Gateway Family YMCA.  As part of the NJ YMCA 7th Grade Initiative, a state-wide program designed to support and encourage teens to maintain a healthy lifestyle, The Gateway Family YMCA offers a supportive program and membership for all 7th Grade Students in the local community, free of charge.  Incoming 7th Grade students are invited to visit the YMCA and sign up starting August 15th for this complimentary membership and program with proof of grade and a guardian’s signature.  Registration is available at The Gateway Family YMCA – Elizabeth Branch - 135 Madison Avenue, Five Points Branch -201 Tucker Avenue, Union, Rahway Branch – 1564 Irving Street, Rahway and Wellness Center Branch – 1000 Galloping Hill Rd, Union.

The goal of the 7th Grade Initiative is to increase physical activity and support teens in the development of lifetime healthy habits while providing a safe and supportive environment at the YMCA.  “At the Y, we recognize that 7th grade is a pivotal time in youth development.  It is a time where sports become more competitive and many teens begin to become sedentary,” stated Krystal. R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA.  “We believe in providing our students with a supportive environment where healthy habits can be learned and reinforced, new friendships can be made, and positive programs and role models are part of the daily routine.”  In 2016, The Gateway Family YMCA released a video depicting the story highlighting a student in the 7th Grade Initiative, Gerby Janvier.  This video is available on The Gateway Family YMCA’s youtube channel at

“In order to prepare for the incoming school year, The Gateway Family YMCA is inviting incoming 7th grade students to register beginning August 15th at our branches in Elizabeth, Union and Rahway,” added Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO.  Students participate in programs and services offered by the YMCA, and receive a complimentary Full Privilege membership including health and wellness options, swimming, group exercise, as well programs designed exclusively for teens.  “Our goal is to provide ongoing support for 7th grade students, assisting them to strengthen healthy behaviors, increase activity, gain a better understanding of nutrition and the importance of continuing these habits into their adult lives,” stated Thomas Galuppo, Director of Healthy Living, Five Points Branch.         

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The Gateway Family YMCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization of caring staff and volunteers dedicated to strengthening the foundations of community and stands For Youth Development, For Healthy Living and For Social Responsibility. The Y impacts the community by providing quality services to people of all ages, races, faiths or incomes.  Providing services for Eastern Union County and Northern Middlesex County for over 117 years, The Gateway Family YMCA has 5 YMCA branches in Elizabeth, Rahway and Union, serving the communities of Avenel, Carteret, Clark, Colonia, Elizabeth, Hillside, Kenilworth, Linden, Port Reading, Roselle, Roselle Park, Sewaren, Union, Vauxhall, Winfield Park and Woodbridge, NJ. 

For more information about The Gateway Family YMCA or the 7th Grade Initiative, visit or contact the Elizabeth Branch at 908-355-9622, Five Points Branch at 908-688-9622, Rahway Branch at 732-388-0057 or Wellness Center Branch at 908-349-9622.