SOMERSET HILLS, NJ – To encourage adolescents to develop healthy behaviors, Somerset County YMCA is offering all seventh graders who attend school in Somerset County a free, one-year membership.

This program is designed to help children gain independence through healthy decision-making, provide a safe environment to spend time with friends, and develop good habits for life.

As a charitable organization, the Y is focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Seventh Grade Membership Program supports the Y’s mission by providing  opportunities for children to cultivate values, skills and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health and educational achievement.

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“Seventh grade is a critical and transitional time when young teens face myriad challenges including bullying, positive body image and choices around risky behaviors. We’re proud to support parents’ efforts to raise healthy, happy kids by offering seventh graders a free membership and opportunities to grow in spirit, mind and body,“ said David M. Carcieri, president and CEO of Somerset County YMCA.

As part of this program, seventh graders are encouraged to participate in weekly activities such as youth group exercise classes, Friday night sports and social events, volunteer opportunities and more. Additionally, they will have access to Wellness Centers, pools, and basketball gyms.

“I love being able to work out at the Y in my free time,” said program participant, Molly Laska. “The people at the Y are so nice and they help you understand how to use the fitness equipment. Coming to the Y for activities and to exercise makes me feel better. I know it is good for me, it helps me feel healthy and it even makes my mood happier. Plus, it’s great to work out with friends; we motivate each other and have fun.”

Membership is valid September 2017 through August 2018 and is offered at Bridgewater YMCA, Hillsborough YMCA, Somerset Hills YMCA and Somerville YMCA. Students entering seventh grade in Somerset County may enroll by completing a membership application and bringing their seventh grade schedule to the Welcome Center of any of these branches.

Membership applications are available at the Welcome Center at each Y, or they can be downloaded at