We’re more than a place, we’re a cause. Every day, The Community YMCA helps kids, adults and families from all walks of life reach their goals and contribute to solutions that improve communities. Through programs and services like diabetes prevention, afterschool care, counseling, volunteering, job training and more, the Y provides people with endless opportunities to achieve more. We can’t do this without you. See how your support helps people discover who they are and what they can achieve. Together, we can do so much more.
Confidence Soars at Camp!
Once a very shy teen, “Julie”, a Y-cares recipient, has blossomed at Camp Zehnder. Although mom cannot afford camp, she does what she can to make it a reality for her daughter because she has seen the difference camp has made in her life. Our Y-cares program has been helping Julie attend Camp Zehnder for a number of years. And Camp has made a difference for Mom as well! She volunteers at camp whenever her schedule allows, and they enjoy Camp Zehnder Family Nights, visiting with fellow camp families and staff. On really hot camp days, Mom enters the parent pick up line with boxes of ice cream sandwiches for the staff!
Julie would reluctantly arrive at camp late (on purpose) so her mom could walk her to her group after the opening activities. We encouraged Julie to arrive earlier so she would be able to enjoy the fun activities and contests at opening. Camp staff had to encourage Mom to bring Julie earlier and allow her to practice being more independent at camp. It took some time, but by the end of last summer, Julie could not get to camp soon enough, and even began volunteering with her mother!
Julie is a success story because she took a risk and stepped outside of her comfort zone. And with the support and encouragement of Camp Zehnder staff, she has blossomed into a wonderful and confident young lady. The Y-cares Scholarship program will enable Julie to attend camp again this year, and we can’t wait to see her accomplishments!
Getting Better Every Day
Sharon came to the Y at a time when she was unemployed and on the verge of losing her home. She was struggling financially and emotionally.
Sharon connected to a counselor at the Y who helped her reflect on her decision-making and how it had led her to her situation. “The truth is often times painful, but as the saying goes…the truth will set you free,” she said.
After working with her Y counselor, Sharon is now better able to handle everyday situations and make better decisions. She has a job and is no longer under the threat of foreclosure.
“If it weren’t for The Community YMCA and my counselor, I do not where I’d be right now. I am truly on a journey and now I have choices to take on my path in life.”
Bayshore Family Success Center
Randi and her family were victims of Superstorm Sandy. They were lost until they found The Community Y’s Bayshore Success Center. The Y was there to help them find the resources they needed to rebuild and simply as a place filled with friendly, supportive neighbors. Today they are still coming and volunteering to help other who need a hand.
Teaching children how to swim and be safe around water is one of the Y’s most important commitments. During the 2014-15 school year, 153 third graders in Red Bank received four free swim lessons at our Health & Wellness facility to help prepare them for a safe summer.
Additionally, 178 kids and adults participated in our annual Learn to Swim Week, a community water safety initiative held each June to help ensure a safe summer for all.
We wish to thank all of our valued donors and partners for their support in ensuring that every person in our community has access to water safety instruction and programs, so that they can be safer in and around water.
Red Bank Primary School Principal Luigi Laugelli has this to say about the importance of the Third Grade Swim Program.
Empowering Girls to Achieve More
After six weeks of training, seven middle school students from Asbury Park proudly crossed the finish line of their first 5K race at the Girls On the Run event on June 6, 2015 in Fair Haven.
It was an exciting moment for each of the students and their Y coaches, who cheered them on from the sidelines.
Girls On the Run is an excellent youth development program that reflects the Y’s commitment to helping young people, particularly in low-income communities, bridge gaps that prevent them from accessing activities that encourage healthy lifestyles.
The Y was able to offer the Girls on the Run Program to students at Asbury Park Middle School with generous support from the Junior League of Monmouth County and the Asbury Park Recreation Department.
Nicole Paventi was a 17-year-old high school cheerleader and athlete when her world was turned upside down by Multiple Sclerosis.
While her high school friends were making plans for college, Nicole was struggling to walk again, determined to accept her high school diploma without a wheelchair. She made her way to the podium on her own, her first victory in contending with the crippling effects of MS.
The feisty 27-year-old has been surprising doctors ever since. Nicole says the Y has helped her through some of her most difficult setbacks with MS.
“The Y has been a sanctuary for me,” Nicole said. “Swimming is the only exercise I can do now without excruciating pain.”
Nicole is grateful to the Y and the financial assistance she has received, which enables her to access the pool for much needed therapy.
Ryan struggles with several behavioral disorders as a result of his birth mother’s drug addiction during pregnancy. He once asked his mother if he would ever be “normal.” She responded, “Ryan you are normal. You are the perfect Ryan that God intended you to be.” Three years ago, Ryan asked if he could go to summer camp. His mom decided to enroll him at YMCA Camp Zehnder because of its low counselor/camper ratio and great reputation. She prayed Camp Zehnder would be the place where Ryan would develop self-confidence. Ryan thrived at Y camp and came home every day with stories of new accomplishments: boating, climbing, winning the Gaga tournament. At last summer’s closing camp session, Ryan and his friends performed a Broadway show tune on the camp stage for all the parents. On the way home that night, brimming with confidence, he said, “Mom, guest what? I think I am normal! I think I can do this! I know who I am and I like myself!”
Many thanks to our generous donors for supporting our efforts to nurture the potential of youth and teens, encourage healthy living and support our communities.