LIVINGSTON, NJ — In recognition of the West Essex YMCA recently being named Branch of the Year by the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges, Livingston’s governing body honored the Y’s directors, site managers and board members with a citation during Monday’s township council meeting.

Mayor Al Anthony presented a plaque from the township to West Essex YMCA Executive Director Helen Flores in order to “celebrate the Y as a longstanding member of the Livingston community” and to offer the YMCA the township’s “very best wishes for continued success in the future.”

“I’m thrilled to be here because it tells me that Livingston recognizes the impact that the Y has on the community,” said Flores as she acknowledged the West Essex Y’s 298 staff members. “Years ago, the YMCA was thought of as a ‘swim and gym.’ We are not a ‘swim and gym’…Those are only a small part of the things we do today.

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“We are really a service organization here to help every town that we’re in combat any problems that they have. We try to find solutions to issues that are facing our community. We’re thrilled that Livingston recognizes this because the staff works really hard to accomplish these goals.”

Deputy Mayor Rudy Fernandez, who has been a West Essex YMCA board member for more than 20 years, reiterated that the Y is a 501©3 nonprofit organization that provides more than $250,000 annually in direct aid to people who cannot afford camps, daycare and other services. In fact, he noted that the YMCA is the largest daycare provider in the country.

The West Essex Y earned the Branch of the Year for its impressive growth in enrollment, programs and charitable contributions to the communities it serves, including Livingston, West Orange, the Caldwells and beyond. The branch was originally recognized for this achievement at the association’s 42nd annual awards dinner held at the Hanover Manor last month.

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To read more about some area residents who were honored during the annual awards dinner, click on the headlines below:

Livingston Duo Honored for Preschool Reading Program at East Orange YMCA

Healthy Living Award Goes to Roseland Resident Known as West Essex YMCA Ambassador

West Orange Teen with Enthusiasm to Spare Named Youth of the Year by West Essex YMCA