Summit Area YMCA Honors Volunteers at Annual Celebration

On Tuesday June 6, 2017, The Summit Area YMCA welcomed over 130 community members, volunteers and staff to its Annual Celebration to honor exemplary volunteers. Paul Neuwirth and Teresa Mendez were honored with the prestigious Shuart Reed Memorial Award, presented to those who exemplify commitment to the Y and the community. Mission Advancement Volunteers, Living Our Cause Volunteers, as well as Noteworthy Youth were also celebrated for their dedication and achievements throughout the year.

With over 30 years of experience in education and a commitment to the Hispanic and Latino Community, Teresa Mendez is not only enthusiastic about youth development but is also a true advocate for the underserved. Beginning as a volunteer at The Learning Circle YMCA in 2008, Teresa made meaningful contributions to the crafting of the guidelines for the Y’s Volunteer Handbook. She understands the mission of the Y and the impact that financial assistance awards have on the lives of children and families. Teresa has demonstrated exemplary leadership on TLC YMCA’s Branch Advisory Committee. She currently serves on the Summit Area YMCA’s Board of Trustees. Her work as a volunteer with the Summit Area YMCA has created meaningful impact for youth to learn, grow and thrive.

Paul Neuwirth, owner of the Taylor Rental Center in Berkeley Heights, exemplifies the Y’s commitment to volunteerism and service in the community. Paul is appreciated by many for his generosity, good humor, equanimity, problem-solving abilities, energy and service to others. Paul is serving his third term as a board member of the Suburban Chamber of Commerce; he recently joined the Berkeley Heights YMCA Branch Advisory Committee; and he is past president of the Berkeley Heights Rotary Club. He is a long-time member of the New Providence Band Parents Association and the New Providence Sports Booster Club, and he is a long-time supporter and coach of the PAL. Taylor Rental has sponsored various local events such as the Annual NJ Sharing Foundation 5K Run, the annual Berkeley Heights 5K Run and the annual Summit Area YMCA Mother’s Day 5K Run Walk.

Mission Advancement Volunteers play a lead role in advancing the Y mission within the community by sharing information about Y initiatives with other community leaders and helps to broker strategic partnerships and collaborations to meet community needs. Mission Advancement Volunteers for 2017 are Jessica Guarnieri of the Berkeley Heights YMCA, Robert Radest of the Summit YMCA, and Megan Brown of The Learning Circle YMCA.

Jessica’s passion for helping people to be their best self and her strong belief that nutrition and exercise are two sides of the same coin is what powers her commitment to working with members of our Y. As the registered dietitian of the Stirling ShopRite, Jessica empowers our members to make healthy, manageable, and achievable changes to their diet and lifestyle. The monthly “Ask the Dietitian” Q&A sessions she holds in our lobby together with the newly created Healthy You six-week nutrition/ exercise program has proven helpful to our members in reaching their health and wellness goals. Jessica’s kind nature makes people feel comfortable to seek her out while at the supermarket so that they can make better food choices. Jessica is a wonderful resource and a loyal friend who helps advance our healthy living mission in our community.



Rob’s commitment to our Y is evident from his active involvement in the Annual Campaign where he has successfully helped raise funds to provide financial assistance to those in our community who most need it. An engaged member of the Branch Advisory Committee, Rob has attended several YMCA conferences and shared his insight and learnings with other YMCA volunteers. Rob always comes prepared to meetings with a new idea and recommends novel ways to address issues so that our Y can have greater impact each day. On most evenings, Rob can be found in our Indoor Cycling classes wearing his traditional headband and raring to go. A devoted family man and contributor to the Summit community, we are grateful to consider Rob a true friend of the Y.

Megan’s strong belief and philosophy to want to make life better for every child at TLC YMCA forms the bedrock for the many volunteer hours she has devoted to our YMCA. Her tremendous energy, commitment to detail, creativity and persuasiveness has resulted in our Y being able to host successful fundraisers that focus on curriculum-rich activities for kids. Whether as classroom parent representative, PTO Vice-President or PTO President, Megan
always steps into a leadership role to advance the Y’s commitment to serving others in the community. Megan embodies the spirit of a true YMCA volunteer who goes above and beyond what is asked of her and we appreciate her contributions to transforming lives, one child at a time.

Living Our Cause Volunteers serve as members of a branch board, board committee or special event planning committee and act as storytellers to raise funds to support the Y cause. Recipients of the Living Our Cause Volunteer awards are David Metzler of the Berkeley Heights YMCA, Cindy Guerrero of the Summit YMCA, and Theresa Cowing of The Learning Circle YMCA.

David has been an active and involved member of our Y ever since he began bringing his daughters to our summer camp fifteen years ago. His keen insight, business acumen, and commitment to the Y’s mission to strengthen community make him a true asset. His meaningful leadership on the Y’s Board of Trustees, Finance Committee, Berkeley Heights Community Pool Taskforce, and Branch Advisory Committee has helped propel our Y forward. He is generous with his time and treasure -- both as a donor (to the campaign and to special events) and as an Annual Campaigner. David is a dedicated family man and we truly appreciate him for his good humor, caring and that is he a part of our team.

Communitarianism, which emphasizes community relationships, helps best describe Cindy. Simultaneously quiet and fierce, Cindy is one of our most effective and dedicated volunteers who achieves what she puts her mind to. In less than a year, she has gotten to know many people within the community and she is Cindy is always an advocate for our Y. Her weekly words of encouragement during the Annual Campaign to every volunteer each week gave our Annual Campaign a boost and led us to have one of our most successful years yet. Cindy is motivated by wanting to help and serve others. She is truly a gift to the Y movement.

As a champion of new ideas for the PTO, Theresa always looks for ways to enhance TLC YMCA’s ability to provide quality enrichment for all children. Over five years, Theresa quickly distinguished herself as a dedicated leader serving as Co-President, Vice President, and then as Treasurer. Her efforts as an Annual Campaign volunteer, resulted in participation of enrolled families donating to the Campaign growing from 60% to 81% to 88% over 3 years. Theresa’s efforts directly benefit children so that they can receive full day, full year child care in a secure, educational environment. We are grateful she is a vital part of our team.

Noteworthy Youth Awards honored Sanford Brown, Johnnie Antonucci and Miajah Small for their participation in the Achievers Program, which motivates and encourages young adults by giving them the support, direction and opportunities to pursue their personal, academic and professional goals.

The Summit Area YMCA is grateful for its hundreds of volunteers who dedicate their time and talent to strengthen the community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

The Summit Area YMCA is one of area’s leading 501©3 organizations. Our programs and services are open to all through our financial assistance programs made possible through the generosity of our members, donors, staff and partners. To help us help others, please make your donation today at