The Westfield Are Y is pleased to announce two special recognitions received at the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance’s 13th Annual Dinner on October 3rd at the Forsgate Country Club. 

Mark Elsasser, the Westfield Area Y’s CEO, was appointed President of the New Jersey State Alliance of YMCAs.  In this volunteer leadership role, Mark will be working with and representing 40 independent Y’s throughout the state to help develop and implement programs that positively impact New Jersey’s critical needs and issues.  The goal of the Alliance is to serve as a unified voice to address public policy issues and help strengthen the foundations of community. 

Also at the dinner, Carlton Blake received the prestigious 2013 Martin Bartner Award.  This award is given to a Y minority staff member or volunteer whose conduct, leadership and commitment epitomize the core values of the Y and who is an outstanding example for others.  As Volunteer Chair of the Westfield Area Y’s Black Achievers Program since its inception in 1997, Carlton has been instrumental in developing the programs’ curriculum and goals.  He helped develop the criteria for participants to earn college scholarships and annually reviews the application essays.  He serves as a mentor and has generally been the driving force behind the program.  Carlton has also recruited extremely influential speakers for the Black Achievers Banquet each year, including U.S. Senators and Congressmen.

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His vision of social responsibility extends well beyond the Y.  He served on the United Way of Greater Union County’s African American Leadership Initiative from 2007-2012.  This initiative assisted kids and families in need, with a particular emphasis on people who have recently been released from prison.  Since 2007, he has coached the Hunterdon Lions Track Club, in charge of sprints and conditioning and is currently one of five head coaches overseeing approximately 250 athletes from 4th to 8th grades.  He also coaches youth basketball and football.

The Westfield Area Y is honored to congratulate both Mark and Carlton on their achievements.