Making a Difference One Person at a Time

Every day, the Y strengthens our community for kids, adults, seniors and families with programs that protect, teach, connect, heal nourish and encourage. It’s how we help the community and the “us” who live in it realize their incredible potential.

Below are the stories of just a few of the people who have benefitted from being a part of our Y. From cancer survivors in our LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program to single parents in need of assistance to those looking for help managing a chronic disease and countless others, the YMCA is here to make an impact and change lives.

Do you have a story to share? Share Your Y Story.

Meet Vincent, one of our newest LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA graduates, who was diagnosed with cancer in July 2020 at the age of 23

“I wanted to get better and move on from it all. The YMCA helped me from a physical and mental standpoint.”

Meet Laventer and Zuma, two of our newest Y members who are visiting from Kenya as they train in the sport of curling

“Everyone here has become part of our family. The YMCA has been very supportive.”

Our CEO, Kim, explains what she’s looking forward to in the new year

This coming year marks our Y’s 75th anniversary and I’m most excited about our upcoming building project and the opportunities it will provide to our community.

Meet one of the recipients of our Jeremy’s Giving Tree program, which fulfills the holiday wishes of local children and teens

“This is my family’s third year receiving gifts from Jeremy’s Tree. We started when my son was in day care at the Y.”

Meet Mei, a longtime member of our Y who recently joined the Togetherhood Committee

“We joined the Y not long after our son was born in 2005. We started my son in swim classes when he was very young, and then the Y turned into a place for our whole family.”

Meet Grishma, the chair of our Togetherhood Committee, a volunteer-led initiative aimed at helping others in our community

“The past almost two years have made me realize that although money is important, if you’re not out there helping someone, you are missing out.”

Meet Angela, a LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA graduate and breast cancer survivor

“I knew I needed to keep healthy both mentally and physically. My doctors tell me that if I didn’t come to the Y to exercise, I’d be a lot worse off.”

Meet Vicki, a longtime member of our Y who recently graduated from our LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program

“I think it’s really important to keep physically fit. It’s important for your weight, for your emotional health and for your mental health.”  

Meet Nancy, a recent graduate of our LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program, who is building back her strength at the Y

“I’d tell others who have had a cancer diagnosis, it’s very easy to assume your new self is a weak person, but you can get strong.”

Meet Lisa, a recent graduate of our LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program, which pairs cancer survivors with instructors who help them heal in mind, body and spirit

“I am so much stronger now. I lost a ton of weight, too. I’ve been learning how to lift weights and do them properly and it’s been such difference.”

Story Update: Meet Julie, one of our dedicated Board Members and the chair of this year’s We Are Y Strong Campaign

“Over the past year, as a member of the YMCA Board of Directors, I got to see up close the work being done to ensure the YMCA would continue to be there in whatever ways possible to help the community.”

Meet Jo Anne and Sam, whose father, the late Joseph Qutub, was the president and executive director of our Y in the 1970s

“We moved from Maryland to Fanwood in 1970. Our dad had worked for the Y in the Middle East when he was younger, and after he came here in his late 20s, worked for a Y in Indiana while he went to college.”

Meet Allen and Kevin, a father and son who recently spoke at our We Are Y Strong Campaign Kick Off about why coming to the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is important to them

“We originally started with the YMCA’s Special Olympics program, the swimming team. Kevin was part of the team that trained here and then would compete at the state level.”

Meet Julie, a participant in our MS Land and Water Exercise Programs who enjoys the camaraderie and support the programs provide

“A doctor had suggested working out in the water to help ease the symptoms of my MS.”

Meet Sophia and Ari, two longtime Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA members turned employees who are thankful for the opportunities the Y has provided them

Sophia recalls: “Our Y story started a long time ago. Ari was born with Down Syndrome and I had a hard time even finding people to babysit for him. We had taken mommy and me swim lessons and when he got a little older, I wanted to continue with the swim lessons. Anywhere I went, the first response was always, ‘we don’t have a special program here.’

Caring for a Family as a Single Parent: Read Cindy’s Story

“We moved to New Jersey in July 2017 and started taking swim classes in Spring 2018. Thanks to financial aid, my son has been able to take swim lessons here. As a mom, it’s very important that my children know how to swim – that they have the skills they need to save themselves or others.”

Finding a Healthier Path: Read Ellen’s Story

“I had a chance meeting with Donna (Peart). The Plainfield Public Schools hosted a wellness event and the Y had a booth. I was borderline pre-diabetes and my doctor was concerned.”

Searching for Assistance after a Life Changing Diagnosis: Read Jessica’s Story

“I was diagnosed with MS on June 9, 2012. It changed my life completely. I no longer work, I can’t drive, my vision is horrible and my balance is bad. I was going to a Kessler (Rehabilitation Center) for a clinical trial and they told me about the Y’s Multiple Sclerosis Water Exercise Program.”

Learning You’re Not Alone: Read Marion’s Story

“My neighbor Donna (Peart) works at the Y and told me about the LIVESTRONG® program for cancer survivors. I started right after my last radiation treatment that August. I tried it, was able to get through the first two hours and I said ‘I can do this.’ I never missed a day the whole 12 weeks.”