May is National Water Safety Month
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. Registration for their next session will begin Monday, April 16.
Families interested in learning more about Y swim lessons and water safety are invited to attend an Aquatic Open House at the Freehold Y at 470 East Freehold Road, Freehold, on Sunday, March 18, from 1:00-3:00pm or at the Old Bridge Y at 1 Mannino Park Drive, Old Bridge, on March 29th, 8:00pm. More information can also be found at www.ymcanj.org/swim.
‘Our Neighbors Who Need Our Help’
by Cathy Padilla for Community NJ Magazine, February 2018
Pastor heeds lessons of Dr. King during YMCA breakfast event
CentralJersey.com, January 24, 2018
“We are proud to be part of an organization that is committed to strengthening community, and there is no better message about the legacy of service than Dr. King,” Sharon Halpin, interim president and CEO of the Y of Monmouth County, said in a prepared statement.
More than 240 locals attended the organizations’ 29th annual breakfast on Jan. 15 at Branches Catering.
Pastor James “Jamie” Gates III, who has been pastoring at the New Hope Baptist Church in Toms River since November of 2014, was the keynote speaker. He is a native of Neptune, presently employed by the Newark Public School System as a journeyman in the Glaziers Local 1009, according to a prepared statement from The Community YMCA. Read more . . .
YMCA of Western Monmouth County Announces 2018 Charity Ball Honorees
Radio personality, Lou Russo, of 94.3 The Point to serve as Master of Ceremonies at the event
Freehold, NJ January 22, 2018 – The YMCA of Western Monmouth County has announced its “2018 Charity Ball—For A Better Us” will be held on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at the Battleground Country Club. This year, the Y will honor Encon Mechanical Corp., owned by Martin & David Indursky, as Business of the Year; Barry Gordon of OGP Architects, LLP as Volunteer of the Year; and Marlene Rogala, owner of Especially For You Florist & Gift Shop Inc., as Community Partner of the Year.
Encon Mechanical was formed in 1968 by Martin Indursky, following his 1963 honorable discharge from the US Army Aviation Branch and five years of working as a mechanical engineer for a New York City engineering firm. As his wife, Micki, recalls, “it was pretty scary since we had almost no savings and our daughter, Lauren, was just 2 years old.” Joined by his son and Encon President, David, in 1992 upon his graduation from SUNY Albany, they’ve grown Encon Mechanical Corp. into a highly successful, multi-million dollar business serving corporate clients throughout the state of New Jersey and employing 80 full-time staff.
For the past 20 years, Barry Gordon has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Western Monmouth County after previously serving two years on the Board of Directors for the Hightstown/East Windsor YMCA. His volunteer positions at the YMCA have included Second Vice Chairman, Chairman of the Property Committee, and Chairman of the Hightstown/East Windsor Branch. His firm, OGP Architects, LLP, has not only been an 11-time sponsor of the Y’s gala, but has also played a significant role in the development of the properties of the YMCA of Western Monmouth County, including the design of the renovations to the Freehold YMCA, the design of the Old Bridge YMCA, and various projects at Camp Topanemus.
Especially For You Florist & Gift Shop, family-owned and located in downtown Freehold since 1976, has been run by Marlene Rogala since her mother’s retirement in 1988. Today, Especially For You employs nine full-time employees and delivers 20,000 floral arrangements each year. Marlene has always been very active in local and professional associations throughout her career, and she was most recently honored with an American Flag that was flown over Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, by Joint Task Force 1, presented by the Lt. Dennis Zielinski Memorial Fund in recognition for her support of the armed services during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel – 2017. Running a successful business enables Marlene to share her talent and resources with local community fundraising events, such as the Y’s Annual Gala, as well as CentraState Hospital’s “Evening in the Vineyards”, “A Toast to Dennis” – Lt. Dennis. Zielinski Memorial Fund, and Toys For Tots among others.
Lou Russo, co-host of radio’s “Lou & Liz in the Morning” show on 94.3 The Point, will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the evening, which will feature ticket and silent auctions, a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and dancing to the music of the Total Soul band. Tickets are on sale now for $195 per person. Exciting sponsorship opportunities are also available. 50/50 cash raffle tickets for this year’s Ball 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, and winners need not be present. All proceeds of the Ball will benefit the YCares Financial Assistance Program, through which the Y provides programs and services to all members of the community regardless of their ability to pay.
“With our doors open to all, we bring together people from all backgrounds, to support those in need,” says YMCA of Western Monmouth County Interim Pres./CEO, Sharon Halpin. “Every day, the Y supports kids, adults, seniors and families with programs that protect, teach, connect, heal, nourish and encourage. Everything we do helps empower communities and the “us” who live in them to thrive.”
For tickets, sponsorship opportunities and additional information, please call Michele Born at 732.462.0464, ext. 125, or e-mail email@example.com, or visit www.ymcanj.org.
Sharon Halpin Brings 38 Years’ Experience Within the YMCA Movement.
Freehold, NJ, December 18, 2017— The YMCA of Western Monmouth County has named Sharon Halpin as its Interim President/CEO, effective November 27, 2017. Selected by the Y’s Board of Directors, Halpin will succeed Cynthia Joy who stepped down November 22. “With Sharon’s 38 years of service to the Y and passion towards the Y’s mission, we feel confident that the YMCA of Western Monmouth County will have fantastic leadership,” said Stacey DeAlmeida, YMCA Board Chair.
A lifelong resident of New Jersey, Mrs. Halpin attended Wittenberg University and has made her home in Middletown for over 40 years. With wellness and fitness always a priority in her life, Sharon began her YMCA career at The Community YMCA as an instructor in both fitness and aquatics. Her ability to connect with people combined with strong leadership skills set the stage for her to ultimately serve as the Community Y’s Director of Human Resources from 1979-2000. She joined the YMCA of Western Monmouth County in 2000 as Director of Operations and has served as Vice President of Human Resources and Risk Management since 2007. Known to be an innovative, organized and highly energized leader with broad knowledge, Sharon brings to her new role a proven history of major accomplishments in strategic planning and organizational development. “I look forward to not only continuing our Y’s long-standing commitment to strengthen the communities of Mercer, Middlesex and Monmouth Counties, but also expanding our opportunities, community partnerships and outreach efforts”, said Mrs. Halpin.
Local YMCAs To Hold Statewide Wellness Event on Jan. 6th to Promote Positive Personal Change and Community Health.
Freehold, NJ, December 13, 2017 – 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 6th.
To encourage individuals and families to make their resolutions a reality, YMCAs across the state annually come together to promote healthy living in their individual communities. The Y promise is that when people are engaged in YMCA programs and memberships, children learn what they can achieve, families spend quality time together, and we all build relationships that deepen our sense of belonging.
“The Y is a community that supports individuals and families in reaching their goals,” said Sharon Halpin, Interim President/CEO of YMCA of Western Monmouth County. “Y staff and volunteers are sincere about helping members in building endurance, losing weight, strengthening your heart. When you join the Y, you’re committing to more than simply becoming healthier. You are supporting the values and programs that strengthen your community.”
To get more out of every day, stop by your local Y on January 6th to see and feel the power of the Y! The Freehold and Old Bridge branches of the YMCA of Western Monmouth County will be offering open access to the community all day. In addition, from 9:00am-12:00pm, visitors can learn about summer camp offerings, meet personal trainers, and be entered in a drawing for a 3-month membership. New members who join on that day can also receive a free youth program for one year.