May Is National Water Safety Month
April 28, 2017 – Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14. With National Water Safety Month in May and summer around the corner, it’s a great time for parents to remember the importance of ensuring their children are equipped with essential water safety skills. The Freehold YMCA offers youth swim lessons year round towards reducing the risk of childhood drowning, instilling a lifelong love of swimming and educating children on safety around different water environments.
Before letting your children hit the water this summer, the Y is offering these few tips to ensure it’s an enjoyable and safe experience.
1. Never swim alone. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty.
2. Supervise your children whenever they’re in water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach of you at all time.
3. Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children shouldn’t hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.
4. Wear a Life Jacket: Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
5. Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling them underwater with them. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using these technique children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.
6. Enroll your children in water safety or swim lessons. Just like teaching your children to look both ways before they cross the street, having them participate in formal water safety lessons teaches them an important life skill.
Learning how to swim also has multiple benefits beyond the ability to enjoy water safely. It helps children strive for physical achievement, promotes healthy living and builds their confidence.
Springsteen sculpture? Freehold Y’s big dreams for young artists
Asbury Park Press, April 23, 2017
An innovative project is vying for a big grant from the USA Today Network.
Ned Bryant had no interest in art until a few weeks ago, when he saw other youths designing T-shirts at the Freehold Borough YMCA Community Center.
The 14-year-old freshman at Freehold High School joined in “because I like shirts,” he said. Now he’s hooked. He’s also quite talented. “I just sat down in front of a piece of paper with a pencil and started drawing,” Bryant said. “I never knew I could draw like that. I really like it.”
Bryant’s group is painting and sketching under the guidance of local artist Vellus Campbell, who hopes this is the start of something big. Dubbed “The Red HeARTed Sleeve Project,” her initiative ultimately aims to pair participants with experts in various mediums — painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, poetry and niche pursuits like T-shirt design.
“I have been sitting on this idea for almost 10 years,” Campbell said. “I never really had the guts to go forward with it.”
A contest sponsored by the USA Today Network provided a spark. Next month the network is awarding a $100,000 grand prize and two $50,000 prizes for innovative community-engagement programs.
What could Campbell achieve with that kind of bankroll?
“I would buy a whole bunch of art supplies,” Campbell said.
Her proteges also could pursue a big, high-profile project. For example: A sculpture of Freehold’s most renowned native, to be donated or auctioned off.
“If we could make a sculpture of Bruce Springsteen, that would be great,” she said. “I’d definitely have to reach out to artisans who are a lot more informed in that medium.”
Freehold, NJ, March 22, 2017 – The YMCA of Western Monmouth County held its “One Enchanted Evening” Gala Celebration on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at the Battleground Country Club. This year’s Honorees were The Preston Family and The Graeme Preston Foundation for Life and the event’s Premier Sponsor was Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
“The Y brings families closer together, encouraging healthy options and fosters those important relations and connections through fitness, sports, shared interest and time together. The Y provides a welcoming place, fostering an environment that exhibits caring and respect for all.” said Robert V. Weiss, Jr., Chief Volunteer Officer, during his welcoming remarks. “It connects a diverse population, giving emotional support and encouragement. I volunteer because I believe in giving back and making our community a better place. Tonight all of you have joined me in doing the same. Thank you.” he continued.
“It was a wonderful evening celebrating the YMCA’s accomplishments, along with highlighting what our Honorees have done for our community. It helped us raise much-needed dollars that go towards our Y Cares Financial Assistance Program and sending community kids to summer camp,” said Cynthia Joy, YMCA of Western Monmouth County’s President and CEO.
The Graeme Preston Foundation For Life, formed in 2008 to honor Graeme Preston, who passed away at age 12, to celebrate his life and start a movement built on kindness and generosity. In addition, Patrick Preston, brother of Freehold Township Mayor Lester Preston, is a former Y Board member and past Endowment Committee Chair and continues to be a volunteer coach. The Graeme Preston Foundation supports individuals and groups who demonstrate and uphold the principles by which Graeme lived. From offering scholarships to deserving youth, to helping local families who have suffered an unexpected loss or hardship, the Foundation has provided grants of over $575,000 to families and organizations in the community. For more information on the Foundation, visit www.graemeprestonfoundation.org.
Highlights of the evening included entertainment by Mission Dance band, a 50/50 raffle, and silent and ticket auction items. All proceeds from this event go directly to our YCares Financial Assistance Program which enables our Association to offer programs and services to all members of our community regardless of their ability to pay.
Seton Hall Basketball Legend Jerry Walker Visits Freehold Borough YMCA Colonial Basketball League
FREEHOLD, NJ, March 9, 2017 – Hoops star Jerry Walker, formerly of Seton Hall University, the New Jersey Nets and many years playing basketball abroad in countries like Spain and Turkey, made a special trip to the Freehold Borough YMCA and the Colonial Basketball League last weekend.
Mr. Walker has enjoyed a wonderful career spanning the globe playing basketball, however, it is his love of helping young people to succeed in life that brought him to the Freehold Borough YMCA. Jerry Walker is co-founder of Team Walker, an organization formed in 1996 towards giving Jersey City youth after-school programs that point them in a positive direction for future success. Craig McGraw, Board member of the YMCA of Western Monmouth County and a long-time friend of Jerry Walker, invited Mr. Walker to meet with Mel O’Neal, Branch Director of the Freehold Borough YMCA. Shoni Hickman, Assistant Director of the Freehold Borough YMCA and Colonial Basketball League President of six years, arranged for Jerry Walker to meet the Colonial Basketball players, coaches, league officials, parents and fans while signing autographs. Mr. Walker was personable and inspirational, leaving Freehold with a new fan base.
Additionally, as a result of the visit Mr. Walker and Mr. O’Neal have created a bridge for youth members of Team Walker and the Freehold Borough YMCA and are very excited to have youth members of both organizations unite for valued recreation and life skills going forward. “Team Walker and the Freehold Borough YMCA have a shared commitment to make remarkable contributions in the development of youth members and to the health and vitality of those youth in their respective communities,” said Mel O’Neal.
“On behalf of the YMCA, the Colonial Basketball League, and many parents and guardians, we offer a very sincere thank you to our Board member Craig McGraw for arranging this meeting and Jerry Walker for his ongoing dedication and continued interest in developing youth,” added Cynthia Joy, President & CEO of the YMCA of Western Monmouth County.
For those interested in sponsoring transportation to transport youth to and from the Freehold Borough YMCA to Team Walker, please contact 732-845-5273. For further information about Team Walker, visit www.teamwalker.org.
Caitlin Radice, Manalapan 12th Grader Receives President’s Volunteer Service Award
FREEHOLD, NJ, February 28, 2017 – Caitlin Radice, age 18, of Manalapan, and member of the YMCA of Western Monmouth County, has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award. The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. The YMCA of Western Monmouth County nominated Caitlin for national honors this fall in recognition of her volunteer service.
Caitlin has volunteered to share her love of dance with YMCA youth members for the last four years. She volunteers weekly and teaches pop, hip hop, and urban dance to youth that bombard her the moment she walks through the door with hugs and sincere excitement! “Caitlin’s energy, enthusiasm and loyalty to her students and the Y has created an electricity for participants, staff and our Y” said Mel O’Neal, Executive Branch Director.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), recognizes middle level and high school students across America for outstanding volunteer service. “The recipients of these awards demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities,” said John Strangfeld, Chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. “By recognizing these students and placing a spotlight on their volunteer activities, we hope to motivate others to consider how they can also contribute to their community.” “Demonstrating civic responsibility through volunteerism is an important part of life,” adds NASSP Executive Director, JoAnn Bartoletti. “These honorees practice a lesson we hope all young people, as well as adults, will emulate.”
Prudential Spirit of Community Award applications were distributed nationwide last September through middle level and high schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and HandsOn Network affiliates. These schools and officially-designated local organizations nominated Local Honorees, whose applications were advanced for state-level judging. In addition to granting President’s Volunteer Service Awards on behalf of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards selected State Honorees, Distinguished Finalist and Certificate of Excellence recipients. Volunteer activities were judged on criteria including personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.
Merrill Lynch Awards Sponsorship to YMCA of Western Monmouth County 2017 Gala
FREEHOLD, NJ, February 22, 2017 – Merrill Lynch has donated $10,000 to the YMCA of Western Monmouth County to become Premier Sponsor of the Y’s 2017 Annual Gala, scheduled for March 11th at Battleground County Club. This year, the Y Gala will honor The Preston Family and The Graeme Preston Foundation For Life.
“We are thrilled and excited about the generous support from Merrill Lynch as our Gala Premier Sponsor. Pat Preston has been a great volunteer and a leader in our community, and we look forward to celebrating the Preston Family and the Graeme Preston Foundation for their contributions to the community,” said Cynthia Joy, President & CEO of the YMCA of Western Monmouth County. Peter Ardolino, Managing Director with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, added “We are proud to demonstrate our continued support for two fantastic and impactful local organizations, The YMCA of Western Monmouth County and the The Graeme Preston Foundation for Life.”
Featured at the Gala event are ticket and silent auctions and a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and dancing to the music of the Premier Band of the Jersey Shore, “Mission Dance”. Tickets are on sale now for $195 per person. All proceeds of the Gala will benefit the YCares Financial Assistance Program.
For tickets, sponsorship opportunities and additional information, please call Michele Born at 732.462.0464, ext. 125, or e-mail email@example.com or go to our website at www.ymcanj.org.
YMCA of Western Monmouth County To Recognize The Preston Family & The Graeme Preston Foundation For Life
Freehold, NJ February 8, 2017 – The YMCA of Western Monmouth County announces its “One Enchanted Evening” Annual Gala Celebration on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at the Battleground Country Club.
Joined by Premier Sponsor, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, the Y will honor The Preston Family and The Graeme Preston Foundation For Life, formed in 2008 to honor Graeme Preston, who passed away at age 12, to celebrate his life and start a movement built on kindness and generosity. In addition, Patrick Preston, brother of Freehold Township Mayor Lester Preston, is a former Y Board Member and continues to be a volunteer coach.
The Graeme Preston Foundation supports individuals and groups who demonstrate and uphold the principles by which Graeme lived. From offering scholarships to deserving youth, to helping local families who have suffered an unexpected loss or hardship, the Foundation has provided grants of over $500,000 to families and organizations in the community. For more information on the Foundation, visit www.graemeprestonfoundation.org.
Featured at the Gala event are ticket and silent auctions and a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and dancing to the music of the Premier Band of the Jersey Shore, “Mission Dance”.
Tickets are on sale now for $195 per person. Exciting sponsorship opportunities are also available. 50/50 Cash raffle tickets for this year’s Gala are also on sale for $100 with three fantastic prizes – 1st Prize – 35% of winning share up to $17,500; 2nd Prize -10% of winning share up to $5,000; 3rd Prize – 5% of winning share up to $2,500 Only 500 Tickets will be sold. Winners need not be present. All proceeds of the Gala will benefit the YCares Financial Assistance Program.
“As an organization committed to strengthening community, the Y is honored to be able to provide financial assistance to the children and families of our community who cannot otherwise afford the vital services the Y provides,” said YMCA of Western Monmouth County President and CEO Cynthia Joy.
For tickets, sponsorship opportunities and additional information, please call Michele Born at 732.462.0464, ext. 125, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our website at www.ymcanj.org.
Thank you to Investors Bank Foundation
January 31, 2017 – For their support of our Annual Gala, Annual Golf Outing, and shared commitment to strengthen our community. Pictured, from left: Michael Trigili, Robert Weiss, Craig McGraw, Michael Wright, Dan Fishman, Cynthia Joy, Russell Azzarello, Shari Scaramuzzo
The YMCA of Western Monmouth County Invites The Community To Go Red For Heart Health
January 24, 2017 – February is designated by the American Heart Association as American Heart Month to raise awareness of heart disease & stroke. The good news is that heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. “The Y is here to help you improve your health and potentially avoid heart disease,” says Cynthia Joy, President & CEO of the YMCA of Western Monmouth County, “being physically active every day is fun and can improve the function of your heart.”
The YMCA of Western Monmouth County is inviting the community to join them on Friday, February 3rd to Go Red for Heart Health. The Freehold and Old Bridge Branches will be offering special Zumba fitness classes, health screenings, nutrition counseling and a stress management seminar. The Freehold YMCA is located at 470 East Freehold Road in Freehold, NJ; and the Old Bridge YMCA is at 1 Mannino Park Drive in Old Bridge, NJ. For more information, visit www.ymcanj.org. For further information on The American Heart Association and heart health, visit www.heart.org.
Richard T. Smith to Present Keynote Address at YMCA Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast
December 26, 2016 – Shrewsbury, NJ – Richard T. Smith, President of the New Jersey State Conference of the NAACP, will be the keynote speaker at the 28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast hosted by The Community YMCA and YMCA of Western Monmouth County.
The annual YMCA event honoring the life and legacy of the civil rights leader and featuring winners of a high school essay contest, will take place Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, 8 to 10 a.m., at Branches Catering, 123 Monmouth Road, West Long Branch. Read more . . .
Local YMCAs Hold Statewide Wellness Event on January 7th to Promote Positive Personal Change and Community Health.
December 21, 2016 – THE RARITAN VALLEY YMCA, the YMCA OF METUCHEN, EDISON, WOODBRIDGE, and SOUTH AMBOY (MEWSA), and the YMCA of WESTERN MONMOUTH COUNTY (Old Bridge & Freehold branches) invite the community to make a special visit to their local YMCA’s in the New Year. It seems nearly everyone has a “New Year’s resolution,” but statistics indicate that less than a quarter of these resolutions are kept. To help keep those personal goals real, YMCA’s across the state will conduct Open House events at their local facilities on January 7th. Read more
Dodgeball Tournament In Howell Teen’s Memory This Weekend at Freehold YMCA
December 14, 2016 via Howell Patch – The third annual Nick Vega Dodgeball Tournament at the Freehold YMCA raises money for organziation that assists children fighting cancer. It raises funds for The Frances Foundation for Kids Fighting Cancer, which assists families in need. Read more…
Make Resolutions Stick in 2017
December 7, 2016 – Along with singing “Auld Lang Syne” at the start of the New Year, making resolutions is a tradition for millions of Americans. However, while choosing a resolution is easy, sticking to it can be impossible. A 2014 YMCA survey found that less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolutions. Many stated that they fell short of their goals, while 40 percent confessed that gave up within the first few months, even weeks, of the New Year!
This year, the Freehold YMCA is encouraging community members to give their New Year’s resolutions a boost by creating smaller, more manageable goals that can lead to success of a larger one. “’Getting healthy’ is not a goal—it’s too broad,” explains Cynthia Joy, President & CEO. “You can reframe that broad resolution into multiple, more manageable and measurable goals. If you aren’t active at all right now, try to incorporate activity into your routine three days a week, before telling yourself that you’ll work out every single day.”
The Freehold YMCA also explains that it’s important to not let yourself get discouraged by setbacks. Even though you may experience some missteps throughout the day—or even the week—that doesn’t mean you have to give up. “Nobody got their bad habits over the course of a week, so you’re not going to change them in a week either!” explains Ms. Joy. Change is a process and bad days are part of that process.
Below are four tips the Freehold YMCA recommends to help 2017 New Year’s resolutions stick.
- Start small. Break those big resolutions into small, achievable goals. Instead of cutting chocolate out of your diet for good, vow to only have it a few times a week. Or trade your two sodas a day for one soda and a glass of water.
- Take it one step at a time. Trying to change too many habits at once can easily lead to frustration. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, make a new month Focus on that one change for the month, and add another (small) change when the new month rolls around.
- Choose a facility that focuses on a holistic approach to health. When it comes to adding healthy behaviors, like increasing physical activity, it’s important to find a facility that keeps you motivated. Your facility should not be just a gym, but a community organization that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity.
- Talk it out. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you have a partner or friend working toward similar goals. Team up with someone to set your 2017 goals and help each other establish a game plan dedicated to achieving them. Set specific check-ins to help each other out of slumps and to cheer each other during the high points.
For additional tips or to learn how to get involved with the Y, community members are invited to visit the Y at 470 East Freehold Road in Freehold or 1 Mannino Park Drive in Old Bridge on Saturday, January 7th for an Open House and Camp Winter Fest, 9am-2pm. All who visit on January 7th will be entered into a raffle to win a free, 3-month membership. In addition, representatives from membership, fitness, aquatics and summer camp will be on hand to answer questions and give tours. More information can also be found at www.ymcanj.org, or by calling 732-462-0464.
Ocean First Foundation Grant
December 5, 2016 – Ocean First Foundation shares our belief that all kids have potential and should have the opportunity to discover who they are, express themselves, and be nurtured in all their possibility. Thank you, Ocean First Foundation, for your $5,000 grant for summer camp scholarships.
The YMCA of Western Monmouth County Welcomes New Board Members
November 17, 2016 – The YMCA of Western Monmouth County is pleased to announce the appointment of new Board members, Selma Camacho and Craig McGraw. The Y’s Board of Directors is comprised of community leaders who generously donate their time and expertise to establishing operating policies, providing planning and strategic direction, and helping to secure the resources needed to further the YMCA’s mission.
“We are very fortunate to have an outstanding tradition of strong volunteer leadership at the YMCA of Western Monmouth County. There is a direct relationship between the Y organization and Board strength,” said Cynthia Joy, President/CEO of the YMCA. “We are fortunate to attract our community’s leading citizens in our ongoing effort to improve our community’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support our neighbors.”
Selma Camacho, a Program Manager for Corporate Information Risk Management with McGraw Hill Financial, has a wide scope of expertise on enterprise shared services platforms and a strong passion for the advancement of technology and information integrity/security. Prior to joining McGraw Hill Financial, Selma held project management positions with Barclays Capital, Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse. She is a graduate of Rutgers University with a BA in Computer Science and Economics.
Craig McGraw, National Sales Director of family-owned Trans American Trucking, was a recipient of the ‘NJBiz Forty Under 40 Award’, presented to young men and women who live and work in New Jersey for their commitment to business growth, professional development and community service. A graduate of Seton Hall University with a BS in Criminal Justice, Craig is active with several community service organizations, including National Police Defense Foundation, Team Walker, RAINE Foundation and Seton Hall Pirate Blue.