Shrewsbury, NJ (February 2, 2016) —The Community YMCA kicked off its Annual Campaign last Thursday at its flagship facility in Red Bank with a little help from the land of “Oz.” Dressed as characters from the classic movie “The Wizard Oz,” employees and volunteers stressed the importance of working together to help others on their path and encouraged the community to support the nonprofit charity so it can provide programs and services to families in need.

“The Community YMCA works to ensure all individuals have the support they need to achieve their full potential,” said President and CEO Rhonda Anderson. “We work here in Monmouth County to provide services addressing our community’s most critical social issues such as childhood obesity, water safety and substance abuse.”

Anderson noted that since 2010, The Community YMCA has helped increase the physical activity of over 10,000 children in its before and after school programs and at the Family Health and Wellness Center where all Red Bank children in grades Pre K- 8 receive a free Healthy Kids Membership. “Our annual Learn to Swim programs help about 300 children prepare for a safe summer and our intensive outpatient programs assist scores of teens and adults in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction,” she added.

Annual Campaign Chairman Ed Zebrowski said the nonprofit’s goal is to raise $512,200 during a seven-week period by reaching out to Y members, friends and the community. Zebrowski was pleased to report that volunteers and employees have already secured $272,591 in pledges, achieving 53% of the campaign goal.

The Annual Campaign kickoff comes on the heels of the launch of the Y-USA’s nationwide multimedia marketing campaign,  For a better us.™, designed to educate consumers on the Y’s work as one of the most effective and enduring charitable organizations in the country. For a better us. is meant to change the perception of the Y and raise awareness of the work it does in the areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility to address pressing social issues in more than 10,000 communities around the country.

The marketing campaign includes two television commercials, Places and Idle Hands, each depicting a different problem America faces today. Places highlights people who lack the opportunities and resources they need to thrive while Idle Hands explores the ways kids may fill their time when left unsupervised or unchallenged, without constructive activities. Both spots close by highlighting the Y’s work on the ground, helping to serve communities by providing healthy living and prevention programs, college and career readiness programs, safe spaces and mentorship and volunteerism opportunities. The commercials will air on multiple national networks including MSNBC, CBS and TBS and can also be viewed on ymca.net/forabetterus.

Those interested in donating to The Community YMCA can visit TheCommunityYMCA.org or call 732.671.5505, ext. 141.