What an exciting year 2016 was for the West Essex YMCA.
Our Annual Support campaign was a wonderful success, with over 800 supporters providing donations that enabled us to subsidize over $172,000 in direct scholarships for our members. Kids enjoyed day camp, families were helped with childcare, seniors enjoyed memberships and teens were in the Y and not on the streets. Many would have not had these opportunities if it were not for the generosity of our supporters.
Our Y also provided 109 free memberships to kids registered in 6th, 7th and 8th grade in our service area. They played in the gym, swam in the pool, took part in wellness classes and had comradery with other kids and our instructors.
Safety around Water was a great success: 94 participants’ received instruction on how to be safe in the water. A gift from our beloved board member Ken DeGhetto, who recently passed away, was an avid swimmer at the Y in his youth and provided the necessary funds to allow these folks to learn about safety in the water.
Our special needs program provides numerous programs and opportunities for the developmentally challenged. We also host a special needs swim team with 27 swimmers—many of whom received medals for their efforts this past summer.
We started our Raptor program to assure that every visitor that enters the Y does not put any child or adult at risk. Anyone entering our Y is scanned into a federal registry to assure that they are not sex offenders, as keeping our children and members safe is our highest priority.
We continue to supervise the Heritage Middle School sports program for the Livingston Board of Education. We also continue to be the only NAEYC-accredited early-learning center in Livingston, receiving high marks in our parent surveys. And we care for over 900 children in 15 schools while their parents are at work every day.
The third year of our Grotta grant is coming to a close; we received funds from the Jewish Community Fund to visit elderly residents in their homes. If they need an extra bit of help to get back to their routines after an illness or a fall, the Y instructors visit and bring a customized exercise program to them. Over 90 seniors had visits twice a week for 12 weeks in a physician-approved program that helped them get back on their feet.
Our West Essex Y is here to serve our communities, and to assist in finding solutions to issues that our residents are facing. We are fortunate to have a caring and dedicated staff that provides programming of the highest quality for all who need us.
Please feel free to contact us if you are in need of help, would like to volunteer or would like to make a tax-deductible donation to help others in need.
Helen Flores, Executive Director
West Essex YMCA