SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges last week announced its goal to raise more than $1 million so individuals, families and seniors in financial need can have a Y membership. The South Mountain Y aims to raise $170,000 of the total.

Metro YMCA President and CEO Richard K. Gorab on Jan. 29 addressed a crowd of more than 200 Metro Y supporters at the Hanover Manor.

“You have a heart for our mission, the wisdom to know the Y is so much more, and the courage to make the promise that no one will ever be turned away due to an inability to pay,’’ Gorab said.

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As the largest association of YMCAs in New Jersey, the Metro Y serves more than 35,000 individuals at six branches: the East Orange Y, the Fairview Lake Y, the South Orange Y, the Sussex County Y, the Wayne Y and the West Essex Y.  The Metro Y is committed to strengthening communities by nurturing children’s potential, promoting healthy living and fostering social responsibility.

“YLAND faces greater and greater challenges in our community – more dangerous than any wicked witch,’’ Gorab said. “The obesity epidemic and other chronic health issues, hunger, aging, child protection, the achievement gap, quality child care all loom large, but the Y community has a crucial role in solving these issues.’’

Gorab set a six-week deadline for the six branches to raise $1,027,000, the bulk of the Metro Y’s $1.6 million support campaign for 2015. 

“We want every person who needs our help to live healthier, happier, stronger lives able to reach the emerald gates and know they will be flung open wide,’’ he said. Contributions accepted at metroymcas.org/give.

Gorab also called on all Y members to take the Stewards of Children training, a program that teaches adults how to implement effective prevention policies, recognize the signs of abuse in children, and react responsibly if abuse occurs.