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November 06, 2017

Middlesex County YMCAs Recognize Youth Volunteers of the Year

Simie Zhu-final
Simie Zhu, YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy Volunteer of the Year

The Raritan Valley YMCA, YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge and South Amboy and the Raritan Bay Area YMCA  honored three youth volunteers from their communities at the 17th Annual New Jersey YMCA State Alliance Celebration on Oct. 19th at Forsgate Country Club. 

The youth were recognized for their service and commitment to the community by making significant volunteering contributions to programs and people at their local YMCA, according to a news release. 

“Volunteers are the backbone of our organization,” said Rose Cushing, CEO of the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge, and South Amboy, “and without them, many of the programs that we offer would not be possible.”

Raritan Valley YMCA Youth Volunteer of the Year, Jordan Joseph, has provided the Y with three years of dedicated and enthusiastic service in volunteering his time with the summer day camp program. 

Simie Zhu, a volunteer with the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy, volunteers many hours a week and on weekends to share her talents and knowledge of dance as an assistant teacher with the Metuchen YMCA Ballet Program. Simie will be taking on a volunteer teaching role in the fall as well.

Kaylee Scott, a volunteer with the Raritan Bay Area YMCA has been a program participant since kindergarten. Now as a teenager she has a dedicated role in helping the Perth Amboy community as part of the Summer Stars Day Camp Counselor in Training Program.

These young people have been selected for being positive role models among their peers and for modeling the Y core values of honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of any nonprofit organization.  We are thankful to our board and program volunteers whom have contributed so much time,” said Gina Stravic, CEO of the Raritan Valley YMCA.  “We are able to do greater things for the community and expand our reach with our volunteers.”

Volunteers recognized on the state level included former Governors Thomas Kean and Richard Cody, recognized for her work in improving community health and wellness. 

Cody and his wife Mary Jo were noted for their work in social responsibility, advocating and implementing change within the New Jersey mental health systems. 

Kean was nominated as the Y’s Healthy Living Champion for his leadership in helping to improve the nation’s health and well-being as part of his tenure as chair of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

“Middlesex County Y’s have been working together in providing for healthier communities” said Steve Jobin, CEO of the Raritan Bay Area YMCA. “Our mission is to help people and families build and maintain healthy habits for spirit, mind and body in their everyday lives. By helping kids, adults and families from all walks of life improve their health and well-being, we build a stronger community.”

For information on volunteering at the Y, contact your local Y or visit for a listing of Y’s and their contact information.

About the Y

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children — regardless of age, income or background — to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.