The YMCA Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy held its 96th Annual Dinner Meeting on May 3 at the Pines Manor in Edison. YMCA volunteers, donors, staff and key community leaders gathered to look back at YMCA activities in the past year and learn about the vision of the YMCA for the coming year. The evening began with entertainment by select members of the Metuchen High School Jazz ensemble during the dinner’s social hour. The evening’s program included the honoring of retiring board volunteers, welcoming new board members and presenting awards to accomplished YMCA and community members.
Maria Tomaro and Lucinda Florio have retired from the YMCA Board of Directors after lengthy tenures of service. Newly appointed to the YMCA Board of Directors are Alka Aneja, Letitia Coughlin and Brian Porter.
The 2017 YMCA honorees were the Honorable James Florio as the recipient of the Peter Barnes, Jr. Community Champion Award, Patricia Wiley as the recipient of the Charles S. Edgar Memorial Award and four young adult YMCA staff members who were recognized for their outstanding performance with the John G. Malinowski Award: Gabrielle Bing of the Metuchen YMCA, Kathleen Sabo of the South Amboy YMCA, Johna Sbailo of the Edison YMCA and Azmavet Almonte of YMCA Child Care Services.
In his remarks, YMCA Board President Bruce Peragallo shared the accomplishments of the YMCA’s programs in the communities served. “Throughout the communities we serve, countless people know the Y. But there’s so much more to our Y than one might think”, said Bruce Peragallo, Chief Volunteer Officer of the YMCA of MEWSA. “Through programs like Child Care, the LiveSTRONG® Exercise Program for Cancer Survivors, the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program and Autism Swims, the Y is clearly more than a gym. It’s a cause. As a charity, we’re dedicated to nurturing the potential of every child and teen, improving the nation’s health and well-being, and giving back and providing support to our neighbors. The help of our volunteers to raise funds to support these programs allows the YMCA to keep its doors open to all, regardless of their ability to pay”.
Every day, the YMCA of MEWSA works to support the people and neighborhoods that need it most by addressing community issues such as school readiness, chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer, child care for working families, and the elder population’s need to stay active and socialize.
Last year, charitable gifts from donors strengthened the YMCA of MEWSA, making it possible for the Y to open its doors to 899 kids to have a safe place to learn and build confidence in summer camp, for 17,263 youth and teens to join the Y as members and program participants, for 387 volunteers to invest 6,343 hours in service to Y members and programs, for 45 cancer survivors to get strong in the LiveSTRONG® at the YMCA Program, and for 29,823 people to have access to YMCA facilities and programs.
“During this time of great change, one thing that has not changed is the American innate commitment to a sense of community”, said former Governor Florio. “Whether it be a large or small community, it is important to understand that the collaboration of people helping other people is the essence of American life, and we need to remember to really value that.”