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Livingston — Letters to the Editor

Support the 2013 West Essex Y’s Strong Kids Campaign

Bonnie Granatir

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 • 11:41am

As chairperson of the 2013 West Essex Y’s Strong Kids Campaign, I am honored to sing the praises of our Y and ask for community support.  Beyond the fee-based fitness and athletic programs for members, the Y offers a range of scholarships and free programs for individuals and families throughout the area.  Here’s why the Y matters to all of us:

The West Essex Y is a critical pillar of our local communities, providing everything our kids need to thrive and reach their fullest potential: caring adults, safe places to gather, a healthy start in life, a chance to develop skills, and opportunities to serve.  With a commitment to youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, the Y serves everyone in our communities from toddlers to seniors.

Here’s just a sampling of the Y’s services:

  • High quality daycare, pre-school, and after-school programs
  • Traditional and innovative gym and swim programs for youth and adults
  • Free memberships for 7th grade students
  • Free memberships for families of armed services personnel
  • Free facilities for Special Olympics and other special needs sports programs
  • Heritage Middle School Sports program
  • Babysitting and lifeguarding certifications
  • Extensive senior programs, both onsite and at local assisted living facilities
  • Educational initiatives in diabetes prevention, Parkinson’s care, and child sexual-abuse prevention
  • Opportunities for teen employment

While providing this wealth of resources, the West Essex Y never turns anyone away due to financial need.  In 2012, the West Essex Y provided $184,700 in scholarships from which 1085 people benefitted.  Additionally, the Y provides free facility use to community organizations such as the Livingston Advisory Committee for Disabilities, the Friday night teen program, the Livingston and West Essex High Schools’ swim teams, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, multicultural festivals, and the annual SanskritiAsian Indian celebration.  The Y relies upon the generosity and support of people like you to provide these high-quality affordable programs and services.

Each of us probably has a Y story.  Mine dates back to Lamaze and pre and post-natal exercise classes; my children learning to swim; multiple after-school programs; watching my son compete on the high school swim team; working with the YMCA to build a skate park; partnering with the Livingston Education Foundation and Big L in the Annual 5K Run; and saving the Middle School sports program when cuts in state aid forced the school district to outsource the program.  I’ve had the good fortune to partner with the West Essex Y on many community and youth development projects that are critical to the healthy culture of our local communities and the Y DESERVES OUR SUPPORT! 

Consider what the Y means to you and how effectively it strengthens our communities.  Please give what you can to this year’s Strong Kids Campaign. Contributing is easy, tax-deductible, and every dollar is appreciated – just mail your check made payable to the West Essex YMCA 321 So. Livingston Ave. Livingston, NJ 07039 or visit the online donation page at https://www.ymcastrongkids.org/ymcaUserStep2.asp?ID=62&p=nj

Bonnie Granatir
Member, West Essex YMCA Board of Managers
Chair, 2013 Strong Kids Campaign

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