Each week, the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA highlights a member of its staff, a YMCA member or volunteer as part of theWe Are Y Wednesdays series. Today, the Y celebrates Welcoming Week with the story of one of a team member who was born in Mumbai, India. Meet Neelambari Save, one of the Y's fantastic STEM educators, who has a long history with YMCAs across the globe.

I swam at the Y back in India as well as in Germany, where I lived briefly. When I was traveling through Europe, I also stayed in Y hostels. It makes me happy to still be connected to the Y.

I’ve been in the United States for over two decades now, and I went to college here. I started working in the Aquatics Department at the Y as a swim instructor, deck supervisor, and coordinator. I have a science background and about four years ago, I began working as a STEM educator with the Explorer Camp and I also teach STEM in the after school program.

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I really, truly enjoy seeing the spark in the kids – seeing that “aha” moment when they do something in the STEM program and relate it to the real world. I have had kids who say, 'I hate science,' at the beginning of the summer and when they leave, they say it’s their favorite subject. It makes it worth it.

To me, STEM is everywhere, no matter what you like and do. When they see that, they start enjoying it. I also believe that Welcoming Week is important. As a parent myself, I believe if my kids are to succeed, everyone around them needs to succeed. We need to elevate each other and to do that, we need to be able to understand each other. We need to uplift ourselves as a community.” 

The YMCA believes our communities are stronger when everyone feels welcome and we work together for the common good. Created by YMCA of the USA's national partner Welcoming America, Welcoming Week, which runs through Sept. 22, celebrates the growing movement of communities that fully embrace new Americans and their contributions to the social fabric of our country. It's a chance for neighbors -- both immigrants and U.S.-born residents -- to get to know one another and celebrate what unites us as a community.

The Fanwood - Scotch Plains YMCA
1340 Martine Ave.,
Scotch Plains, NJ 07076: 
(908) 889-8880
https://fspymca.org