“I came to the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA for swim lessons for my children. Little did I know at the time that I would find a wonderful supportive community to connect with. The Y has supported me and provided me with the tools I needed to be successful with my work at the Y amidst raising 9 children. And they have provided me with many new opportunities to grow. I began teaching floor aerobics classes at our Y at Brunner School. Over the years, I learned many new and different fitness class formats to keep classes fresh and fun. I became a trainer for Y-USA and ACE and began certifying and mentoring instructors, many of whom are still here at the Y following their passion and teaching great classes.

My focus at the Y has always been to meet the members’ needs and to make it fun. I have always wanted our members to leave our Y with a smile on their face. I brought indoor cycle to our Y, developed a personal training program, participated in Tri Women, helped to develop our own Tri Club, and created a middle school sports program, along with program development for the 7th Grade Initiative and helping form the Adult Men’s Basketball League.

The Y encouraged me to ‘spread my wings,’ taking my passion for healthy living into our community. In 2008, Y-USA began Activate America and I embraced it wholeheartedly. Our Y received funding and training to bring LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA, LIVESTRONG® at School, YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring and YMCA’s Weight Management Program to our Y. All of the programming focused on making small lifestyle changes to achieve big health results.

I began establishing community networks with Summit Medical Group, Atlantic Health, the Scotch Plains Mayors Wellness Campaign and the North Jersey Health Collaborative. I have been fortunate to work alongside the Scotch Plains-Fanwood PTA Council with an RWJ grant on gardening and safe routes to school, and we have co-chaired the United For A Cause 5K race for 7 years. I also have worked with the NJ YMCA State Alliance as a peer leader for Health and Wellness as well as the 7th Grade Initiative. UnitedHealthcare supported our work with the 7th Grade Health Bee and an interactive gaming wall and floorboard. I have also worked with the RWJ Foundation and Square Foot Gardening on gardening and healthy eating.

So, what will I do next? Things that I haven’t been able to do while working full time. I have children in the area with 11 grandchildren and I am already on their calendars. I will continue my work with the North Jersey Health Collaborative, the Overlook Oncology Advisory Board and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Advisory Board.  And I will follow my passion with Pilates and yoga.

Over these many years, the Y has been my home where I have truly lived the Y mission of improving the lives of our members and our community. Our Y is a place where staff and members come together in celebration and in times of support. I feel that our paths will cross again; they always do. I leave you with many other dedicated and passionate colleagues to carry on our Y mission.”