The Gateway Family YMCA honored Priya Maharaj, a dedicated YMCA Volunteer, as 2019 Youth Volunteer of the Year, at the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance 19th Annual Recognition Celebration on October 17th at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, NJ.   

“Youth Volunteers are key to the mission of the YMCA, providing positive impact to members and program participants in our branches every day,” stated Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “We are fortunate to have the ability to foster a sense of volunteerism for youth in the communities we serve.”

Priya, a Junior attending Union High School, has been an active member and volunteer at the Five Points Branch in Union, providing support and assistance to the Youth Soccer program.  Priya first joined the YMCA with her family in January, and within a few weeks began volunteering every Saturday morning to assist youth program participants. She is dedicated to volunteering and making a difference in the lives of the youth athletes.  Priya’s future plans include attending college to become a Pediatric Psychologist, where she can continue to work with youth and make a positive impact.

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“Priya chose to volunteer because she felt it would be a good opportunity to give back and help youth in her community. She also wants to be a role model for the young athletes and someone they could look up to,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO.  Rodger Koerber, District Vice President added, “Priya’s favorite part of volunteering with the soccer classes so far is when there is a child struggling with a skill and she is able to help them learn the skill.”

The New Jersey YMCA State Alliance hosts the Recognition Event annually to highlight YMCA initiatives and recognize those who have shown leadership and support for New Jersey YMCAs in one of three focus areas: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility.  Priya was joined by other Youth Volunteers honored from YMCAs across the state for their dedication to improving the lives of others and their impact in the community.

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.  The Y is a powerful association of men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life joined together by a shared passion: to strengthen the foundations of community.

For more information about The Gateway Family YMCA or to complete a Volunteer Interest Form, visit  To learn more about volunteer opportunities, please contact the Elizabeth Branch 908-355-9622, Five Points Branch 908-688-9622, Rahway Branch 908-388-0057, Wellness Center Branch 908-349-9622, WISE Center YMCA Branch 908-687-2995 or Youth Development Branch 908-355-3061.