Monmouth County YMCAs Announce Community Relief Initiative at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast
West Long Branch, NJ (January 21, 2019) – YMCAs of Monmouth County announced a collaborative initiative to provide relief to individuals and families in Monmouth County impacted by the recent government shutdown at their 30th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Breakfast, held today at Branches in West Long Branch.
“In the spirit of Dr. King, the YMCA is proud to put our mission into action to lift our neighbors in need whose lives have been impacted by the current situation in our country,” said Laurie Goganzer, president and chief executive officer of The Community YMCA. “YMCAs in Monmouth County are pleased to open our doors and welcome families affected by the shutdown during this difficult time.”
The Community YMCA and YMCA of Western Monmouth County are offering free access to Y branches and childcare payment relief to current furloughed employees of the federal government for the duration of the shutdown. Affected families who participate in YMCA before and after school programs, preschool in Matawan, and YMCA childcare programs in Freehold may also inquire about modified payment arrangements to ensure continued access to childcare support without disruption to the family routine.
“Federal employees and their families are welcome to visit our Ys during this time and can access the same membership benefits as adult or family members,” Goganzer said. Additionally, the Ys will waive the month of dues for existing Y members impacted by the shutdown, Goganzer said.
The commemorative breakfast, hosted each year by The Community YMCA and YMCA of Western Monmouth County, celebrates the life and teachings of Dr. King. This year’s event was attended by nearly 300 people from across Monmouth County.
The Rev. Ronald L. Sparks, pastor of Bethel AMC Church in Freehold, presented the keynote address at the event. Local students winning this year’s Dr. King essay contest were Solange Skarecki, a sophomore at Asbury Park High School, and Ned Bryant, Jr., a junior at Freehold Regional High School.
Also at the event, thanks to the generosity of attendees, hundreds of new and gently used books were collected in support of Bridge of Books Foundation, which provides an ongoing source of books to underserved children throughout New Jersey.
For more information on the relief campaign, visit www.ymcanj.org/shutdown-relief. To participate, current furloughed federal government employees should visit the Welcome Center or Membership Department at the Red Bank Family YMCA, Freehold YMCA or Old Bridge YMCA, and show proof of current employment and a valid photo ID.
30th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Breakfast on January 21
Atlantic Highlands Herald, January 11, 2019
Red Bank, NJ – The Community YMCA and the YMCA of Western Monmouth County are pleased to announce their 30th Annual Commemorative Breakfast celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 21, 2019, from 8 to 10 a.m., at Branches Catering, 123 Monmouth Road, West Long Branch. Read more>>>
YMCA of Western Monmouth County Joins Welcoming America in Celebrating New Americans During Welcoming Week
A celebration of diversity in our communities
Freehold, NJ, August 10, 2018–This Welcoming Week, taking place September 14-23, the YMCA of Western Monmouth County will join Welcoming America and hundreds of YMCAs and other organizations nationwide in hosting events to celebrate immigrants’ contributions to communities and bring together all residents in a spirit of unity. Launched in 2009, Welcoming America is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that is leading the growing movement of inclusive communities nationwide. “At the Y, we believe communities are stronger when everyone feels welcome and we can all work together for the common good,” said John Worley, Interim President & CEO. “We are proud to be a part of Welcoming Week, which is demonstrating that in places large and small, rural and urban, people of all backgrounds are coming together to create stronger communities. It is a time to celebrate the shared values that unite us as neighbors, parents and colleagues, and to make our towns more welcoming to newcomers and to everyone who calls our community home.”
During Welcoming Week, the Freehold and Old Bridge branches will offer activities that are open to the public and include a citizenship information session presented by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, a voter registration drive, a comparative religions presentation featuring a moderated panel of religious leaders, and cultural dance demonstrations. In addition, both branches will have open access to the community from 9:00am-12:00pm and 5:00-8:00pm daily. For a list of Welcoming Week events, visit ymcanj.org, or call 732.462.0464, ext. 132.
“These events are part of a powerful and growing movement in our country and around the world, demonstrating that communities want to be welcoming,” said Rachel Peric, Executive Director of Welcoming America. “Welcoming Week is a reminder of the resilient and inclusive spirit of American communities. Thousands of local leaders nationwide are bringing their communities together to bridge divides and build stronger local economies where everyone belongs.”
CentralJersey.com, June 19, 2018
‘We’re all Freehold’: Why one borough resident started the Unity Walk
Asbury Park Press, June 2, 2018
Keep your child safe in the water this summer
Asbury Park Press, May 29, 2018
There is a list of basic life skills all parents instinctively know they must teach their children to keep them safe and healthy. It includes habits like looking both ways before crossing the street, washing your hands with soap and water and eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables every day. For too many parents, safety in and around water is not on the list; and that’s something we need to change.
Fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old. According to the CDC, about one in five drownings involve children 14 years old and younger. And, for every child who dies from drowning, another five are injured from near drownings, the CDC says. The problem is particularly acute among minority communities. For example, African American children ages 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts. The disparity is partly due to the lack of swimming experience among these children.
The Y is committed to reducing water-related injuries, particularly in communities where children are most at risk. It’s never too early to get children involved in swimming—it’s important for safety reasons, but also a great way to keep active and healthy. There are so many options for parents, but the best place to start is by learning basic water safety skills that help get kids familiar with the water that often continues with swim lessons and competitive swim programs and can even lead to a career.
As part of National Water Safety Month in May, the Y encourages parents to take an active role in fostering a relationship between their children and swimming—beginning with water safety. Following are safety tips to practice when in and around the water:
- Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone.
- Adults should constantly and actively watch their children.
- Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm’s reach.
- Children and adults should not engage in breath holding activities.
In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, swimming is a great way to increase physical activity. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. If children know how to stay safe in and around water, swimming can be a lifelong source of fun and exercise. Instead of keeping your children away from water, help them learn fundamental water safety skills. These classes can provide a new, exciting way to keep active and meet new friends.
As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the YMCA of Western Monmouth County has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 120 years. There are a variety of programs to choose, including youth and adult progressive swim lessons, special needs swim lessons, and a competitive swim team. To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, financial assistance is available to those in need to help cover the costs.
YMCA of Western Monmouth County Raises $122,000 at Charity Ball, Honors Community Leaders
Freehold, NJ, March 15, 2018 – The YMCA of Western Monmouth County held its “For A Better Us” Charity Ball on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at the Battleground Country Club. This year’s Honorees were Encon Mechanical Corp. as Business of the Year, Barry Gordon of OGP Architects, LLP as Volunteer of the Year, and Marlene Rogala of Especially For You Florist & Gift Shop as Community Partner of the Year.
Encon Mechanical Corp., owned by Martin Indursky and his son, David, is a highly successful, multi-million dollar business serving corporate clients throughout the state of New Jersey and has been a long-time sponsor of the Y. Barry Gordon, partner of OGP Architects, LLP, has served on the Y’s Board of Directors for 20 years and his firm has been an 11-time sponsor of the Y’s annual ball. Marlene Rogala, owner of Especially For You Florist & Gift Shop, has been very active in local and professional associations throughout her career and shares her talent and resources with local community fundraising events.
“We all have our strengths but too often we look at ourselves and think ‘there is nothing I can do for this organization, why do they need me’…but that’s not the case,” said honoree Barry Gordon, reflecting on his 20 years serving on the YMCA Board of Directors. He continued, “For our Y to be strong and reach those who need it most, we need everybody to ask what they can do and how they can contribute. Everybody brings something to the table. Please take a look at yourself and ask, ‘what can I bring to the Y, how can I contribute’…if just one person here tonight decides they want to make a difference, our community is a better place.”
Radio personalities, Lou Russo and Liz Jeressi, of ‘Lou & Liz In The Morning’ on 94.3 The Point served as Masters of Ceremonies for the evening, which included entertainment by the Total Soul Band, a 50/50 raffle, and both silent and ticket auctions. “It was a wonderful evening highlighting what our Honorees have done for our community, and it helped us raise much-needed dollars towards sending community kids to summer camp,” said Stacey DeAlmeida, YMCA of Western Monmouth County’s Board Chairwoman. Proceeds from the Charity Ball go directly to the YCares Financial Assistance Program which enables the Association to subsidize their programs and services to all members of our community regardless of their ability to pay.
YMCA of Western Monmouth County Announces New Swim Program, Focus Remains on Safety
Updated lessons help swimmers of all ages and skills develop a lifelong love of swimming
Freehold, NJ, March 13, 2018 –As America’s Swim Instructor, the Y is the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning and encourage a lifelong enjoyment of swimming—teaching more than one million kids a year swimming and water safety skills.
This spring, the YMCA of Western Monmouth County is updating their lessons to increase the accessibility and enjoyment of swimming to all ages and skill levels. The latest evolution of Y Swim Lessons accommodates varying abilities to help foster a sense of achievement as swimmers’ progress between levels. With a focus on water safety and self-survival skills, the new curriculum begins with basic swimming readiness skills and progresses to stroke introduction, refinement and technique. Through this approach, advanced swimmers flow more easily to higher levels while swimmers who need more instruction can learn at their own pace. This results in more confident swimmers who stick with lessons and develop a love for swimming that can last a lifetime.
“We want swim lessons to be a rite of passage for ALL children; helping kids stay safe in and around the water while developing a love of swimming,” said Sharon Halpin, Interim Pres./CEO of YMCA of Western Monmouth County. “Through the Y’s latest approach to swim lessons, kids of all ages can progress at their own pace while building the skills and confidence needed to become a successful swimmer.”
There are three general categories of Y Swim Lessons:
- Swim Starters develops water enrichment and aquatic readiness in children ages 6 months to 3 years. This category focuses on developing swim readiness skills through fun and confidence-building experiences. Parents also learn how to supervise children in the water, how to prevent accidents and how to plan for emergencies.
- Swim Basics develops personal water safety and basic swimming skills in students of all ages. Swimmers develop a high level of comfort in the water by practicing safe water habits, engaging in underwater exploration, and learning how to swim to safety and exit if they fall into a body of water.
- Swim Strokes introduces and refines stroke technique in older students (school age, teens and adults). Having mastered the fundamentals, students learn additional water safety skills and build stroke technique, developing skills that prevent chronic disease, increase social-emotional and cognitive well-being and foster a lifetime of physical activity.
The Y introduced the concept of group swim lessons in 1909. Now, each year in more than 2,000 pools across the country, the Y teaches more than a million children from all backgrounds invaluable water safety and swim skills. In Monmouth and Middlesex Counties, the YMCA of Western Monmouth County teaches thousands of children water safety and swimming each year. Swim lessons are offered year-round for all ages and levels, as well as lifeguard certification classes, at the Freehold and Old Bridge branches.
‘Our Neighbors Who Need Our Help’
by Cathy Padilla for Community NJ Magazine, February 2018