MAPLEWOOD, NJ – The South Mountain YMCA was named as 2013 Branch of the Year by the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges.  It earned the top spot among the six branches in part due to the strong community collaborations it has developed to assist in fulfilling its mission.

“The South Mountain Y had an outstanding year with formidable accomplishments in its quest to meet our mission of strengthen community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility,’’ said Metro YMCA President and Chief Executive Officer Richard K. Gorab.

The Y enhanced programs through strong partnership with organizations including the Maplewood South Orange School District, the Maplewood South Orange Kiwanis Club, the South Orange Rotary Club, and Darkness to Light, a nonprofit that works to prevent child sex abuse, Gorab said. With its strong fiscal management, it was able to provide more than $250,000 in financial assistance to those in need.

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“The South Mountain YMCA exemplifies how this organization is so much more than a place to exercise: it’s a haven for children, a place to build friendships, a center where children, adults and seniors learn healthy lifestyle choices,’’ Gorab said.

The naming of the South Mountain YMCA as 2013 Branch of the Year was one of 10 awards the Metro YMCA bestowed at the annual meeting on April 3, held at the Hanover Manor in East Hanover. Longtime supporters and members, extraordinary staff, and six teenage volunteers were also honored.