The Gateway Family YMCA Announces Free Community Membership

 The Gateway Family YMCA announced a new free Community Membership initiative, available to all individuals in the communities served in Eastern Union County and Northern Middlesex County, with registration available at www.tgfymca.org/join-the-Y.

“Everyone belongs at The Gateway Family YMCA,” stated Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “Our Y is excited to offer this innovative community initiative to intentionally meet the community health needs of our friends and neighbors. We are happy to welcome everyone to our Y family!”

Community Membership is an opportunity for everyone to participate in designated Y programs, special events and communications through a complimentary membership designed to provide access to all, while remaining connected to each other and the community. Community Membership includes a sample of both free and fee-based YMCA programs and special events, specifically cultivated with community health, chronic disease management and the YMCA mission in mind. More information is available at www.tgfymca.org/community-membership.

“At The Gateway Family YMCA, we have always stood by our mission, to be For All,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP, Chief Operating Officer. “We feel the Community Membership initiative is a natural evolution of our commitment to increase reach, access and affordability for the programs, services and events that shape health equity within every community we serve.”

Since 1900, The Gateway Family YMCA has served the local community, focusing on programs and services that empower young people, improve health and well-being and inspire action in and across communities. With a focus on small group social opportunities, family activities and events, support for chronic disease management and volunteer opportunities, The Gateway Family YMCA’s Community Membership includes programs and activities such as Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring, Diabetes Education Management, Lifeguard and CPR Training, LiveSTRONG at the YMCA, Virtual WISE Community Services, Residential Housing Programs, Healthy Kids Day, Senior Health and Fitness Day, YMCA Member Socials and Community Open Houses.

“Community Membership provides another intentional outreach initiative, to ensure that we are providing support and connection for all,” stated Rodger D. Koerber, VP of Operations. “We work every day to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live their healthiest life, assist individuals in overcoming barriers and improving access to health-promoting resources. With the Y, you will find countless opportunities to connect with your neighbors, give back to your community and be your best self.”

“We like to say that the Y isn’t a building. It’s people from all backgrounds and walks of life who come together to improve their lives, nurture their families and strengthen our community, together,” stated Colleen A. Clayton, Chief Membership & Development Officer. “Access for all is not a new concept to us. Our commitment to our community has always included financial assistance, which is directly supported by our Annual Campaign donors, ensuring that everyone has access to programs, services and membership.”

As part of the kick-off to the Community Membership initiative, The Gateway Family YMCA is celebrating a Find Your Summer Open House July 28-31 at Y branches in Elizabeth, Rahway and Union including family swimming and basketball, water exercise, and group exercise programs. This special event is free and open to the community. Additional details are available at www.tgfymca.org/events

The Y is the leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community by connecting people to their potential, purpose and each other. The Gateway Family YMCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization of caring staff and volunteers dedicated to strengthening community through Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. By bringing together people from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations, the Y ensures that everyone has access to the opportunities, relationships and resources necessary to learn, grow and thrive.

For more information about The Gateway Family YMCA, the Community Membership initiative or YMCA programs, visit www.tgfymca.org or contact the Elizabeth Branch 908-355-9622, Five Points Branch 908-688-9622, Rahway Branch 732-388-0057, Wellness Center and WISE Center Branch 908-349-9622 or Youth Development Branch 908-355-3061.

The Gateway Family YMCA

Colleen Clayton

908-249-4811

www.tgfymca.org

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  • Lifestyle

The Gateway Family YMCA Reminds Community Water Safety Should be Top of Mind

 The Gateway Family YMCA wants to ensure that water safety doesn’t get lost in our communities ongoing eagerness to return to a “normal” summer. As temperatures rise, kids want to cool off, whether that’s in home pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, or oceans. And that means the risk of drowning is present. With May being National Water Safety Month, The Gateway Family YMCA is encouraging parents and caregivers to reinforce the importance of water safety and equip their kids with the essential skills to keep them safe in and around water.

“As ‘America’s Swim Instructor,’ The Gateway Family YMCA annually teaches more than 1,000 children valuable water safety and swimming skills,” said Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “Now more than ever, it’s important to remind parents and caregivers that water safety needs to be top-of-mind as families start to return to their favorite summertime activities.”

As part of National Water Safety Month, The Gateway Family YMCA is encouraging parents to play an active role in promoting water safety and providing five tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all.

1. Never swim alone or without a water watcher. When children are swimming, make sure they are actively supervised at all times. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty, or where a responsible adult agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions.

2. Supervise your children whenever they’re in or near water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within an arm’s reach at all times.

3. Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children should not hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.

4. Wear a life jacket: Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

5. Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural instinct may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling the rescuer underwater. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique, children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.

“Water Safety isn’t just a summer program, it’s a life-long skill taught year round here at the Y,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “Children learn essential water safety skills, as well as confidence and endurance in Y swimming lessons.”

Throughout Water Safety Month, The Gateway Family YMCA will be sharing information on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GatewayFamilyY for the community, highlighting tips and information on water safety.

The Gateway Family YMCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization of caring staff and volunteers dedicated to strengthening community through Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. The Gateway Family YMCA impacts the community by providing quality services for all. The Y doesn’t just strengthen bodies, it strengthens people, families and communities.

For more information about The Gateway Family YMCA, visit www.tgfymca.org or contact the Elizabeth Branch 908-355-9622, Five Points Branch 908-688-9622, Rahway Branch 732-388-0057 or the Wellness Center and WISE Center Branch at 908-349-9622.

The Gateway Family YMCA

Colleen Clayton

908-249-4811

www.tgfymca.org

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  • Hobbies & Craft

The Gateway Family YMCA Announces New Superhero Workshop for Children with Special Needs

 The Gateway Family YMCA announced an exciting and unique new program, designed specifically for children with special needs and their parents. The Design Your Own Superhero Workshop is a collaboration with the Maker Depot Academy, and offers a 4-week program where children will use their imagination and creative skills to design their own superhero. At the end of the session, children will have a project to display, share and take home.

Registration is available online at www.tgfymca.org or in person at The Gateway Family YMCA – Rahway Branch, 1564 Irving Street, Rahway where the program will be held. This program is open to the community and financial assistance is available.

“The Gateway Family YMCA has served the community since 1900,” stated Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “Our programs and services are essential in meeting the needs of everyone in the community, and this program promises to be fun, educational and unique.”

The Gateway Family YMCA – Rahway Branch offers a variety of traditional YMCA programming like swimming lessons, youth sports and child care, as well as arts programming and education.

“We are proud to be a part of the community in Rahway, and our commitment to the Arts, as well as our extensive renovations of the Rahway Branch a few years ago,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “The Superhero Workshop is a fun and unique twist to traditional arts programming and we are excited to see this concept take off in our community.”

This program is made possible in part by a 2022 HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) Grant from the Union County Board of County Commissioners.

The Gateway Family YMCA is a leading 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization committed to strengthening community by connecting all people to their potential, purpose and each other. Working locally, the Y focus on empowering young people, improving health and well-being, and inspiring action in and across communities. By bringing together people from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations, the Y ensure that all have access to the opportunities, relationships and resources necessary to learn, grow and thrive.

For more information on The Gateway Family YMCA, visit www.tgfymca.org or contact The Gateway Family YMCA – Rahway Branch at 732-388-0057 or rahwayinfo@tgfymca.org.

The Gateway Family YMCA

Colleen Clayton

908-249-4811

www.tgfymca.org

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  • Children & Youth

The Gateway Family YMCA Offers Programs to Combat Childhood Obesity

 For Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, The Gateway Family YMCA is working to inform the community of healthy program options. While the dangers of childhood obesity are well chronicled, many families need support changing their families’ habits with the goal of overweight and obese children obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight. Childhood obesity and wellness is even more of a concern during the COVID-19 global pandemic, where social distancing often became a sedentary lifestyle change. That is why The Gateway Family YMCA — a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving health—wants families to understand the dangers of childhood obesity and ways to reverse course through improved eating habits and increased physical activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity has remained stable at about 17 percent and affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents. Today, obesity affects one in six children and one in three are overweight, which poses greater risks for many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers. Here in New Jersey, 31% of children ages 10-17 years old are overweight or obese, according to childhealthdata.org.

“Changing habits is never easy, and that’s where the Y comes in to help. Many parents have heard the dangers of childhood obesity, but making the necessary lifestyle changes—as a family—remains the biggest barrier to real progress,” said Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA.

“Together we can work together with your family, side-by-side to learn healthy behaviors and develop habits that will last a lifetime. Community-based organizations like the Y can provide a helping hand, with wellness coaches, programs like Healthy Weight and Your Child, access to equipment in a safe environment and more,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO.

The Gateway Family YMCA is helping families improve their health and potentially reduce the impact of childhood obesity through healthy living program for youth and families. While outside support is key, developing healthy habits begins at home. The following tips are some great ways to incorporate healthier eating habits and more physical activity and into your daily family routine:

Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice and encourage everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. As a family choose a new fruit and veggie every week to taste together. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals and allow children to pour their own water. Keep full water bottles available in the car and back packs.

Play Every Day/Go Outside: Children should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving.

Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.

Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, charge electronics/screens in the kitchen overnight, go for a walk after a meal, set a timer to remind you to power down the screen).

Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to soft music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night and seven to eight hours for adults.

The Gateway Family YMCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization of caring staff and volunteers dedicated to strengthening community and stands For Youth Development, For Healthy Living and For Social Responsibility. The Gateway Family YMCA impacts the community by providing quality services to people of all ages, races, faith or incomes. The Y doesn’t just strengthen bodies – it strengthens people, families and communities.

To learn more about The Gateway Family YMCA’s Healthy Living programs, please visit www.tgfymca.org or contact the Elizabeth Branch at 908-355-9622, Five Points Branch 908-688-9622, Rahway Branch 732-388-0057, Wellness Center Branch 908-349-9622 or WISE Center YMCA Branch 908-687-2995.

The Gateway Family YMCA

Colleen Clayton

908-249-4811

www.tgfymca.org

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  • Lifestyle

The Gateway Family YMCA Offers Enhance®Fitness, a Program that Treats Arthritis Through Fun, Laughter and Friendship

 The Gateway Family YMCA is offering EnhanceFitness, an evidence-based physical activity program proven to increase the physical, mental and social functioning of older adults – particularly those with arthritis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 52 million Americans have arthritis, including about half of all adults over age 65. Almost 23 million Americans report that arthritis limits their physical activity. Research has shown that low-intensity physical activity performed on a regular basis can reduce pain, improve functioning, elevate mood and delay the onset of disability.

Participants in EnhanceFitness receive in person or virtual classes each week from certified Y staff that include proven aerobic, strength training, balance and flexibility exercises that are safe, effective and modifiable for a variety of fitness levels. In addition to physical benefits, the program will provide a fun, social atmosphere that fosters relationships between program participants.

“With a mission centered on balance in spirit, mind and body, the Y strives to be a leading voice for health and well-being in our community so that all people, no matter what their circumstance or age, can achieve greater health,” said Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, social isolation and lack of daily care for chronic conditions have caused a backslide in progress for many of our seniors. The Y is here to support their unique needs through programs such as Enhance Fitness.”

EnhanceFitness is available for in-person programs at multiple branches of The Gateway Family YMCA and is also offered as a virtual program, with registration at www.tgfycma.org This program is free to YMCA members, and is available to anyone who qualifies for SilverSneakers or Renew Active, as well as other membership programs and financial assistance is available.

“Providing healthy aging programs is a priority for the Y, especially as the number of older adults continues to increase. We are excited to collaborate with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and Senior Services and the YMCA of the USA to offer older adults the support they need to build physical strength and decrease arthritis symptoms in a fun atmosphere,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO, The Gateway Family YMCA.

To support those who may be socially isolated, The Gateway Family YMCA offers approximately 30 live virtual, instructor-led group exercise, chronic disease management, youth and WISE Adult Services programs in addition to in-person YMCA programs including group exercise, swimming lessons, youth sports, summer day camp, child care and residential housing programs.

The Gateway Family YMCA is a leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to strengthening community by connecting all people to their potential, purpose and each other. With a focus on empowering young people, improving health and well-being, and inspiring action in and across the local community, the Y brings together people from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations, to ensure that all have access to the opportunities, relationships and resources necessary to learn, grow and thrive. The Y doesn’t just strengthen bodies – it strengthens people, families and communities.

For more information, visit www.tgfymca.org/enhance-fitness or contact Paul Mickiewicz, Senior Director of Healthy Living at pmickiewicz@tgfymca.org or 908-349-9622 For Spanish, contact Rafael Cano, Director of Healthy Living rcano@tgfymca.org or 908-355-9622.

The Gateway Family YMCA

Colleen Clayton

908-249-4811

www.tgfymca.org

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