First Ever PRIDE Event to be Hosted by the Y

Join the first ever PRIDE event in the Berkeley Heights community! Bring picnic blankets, food and enjoy games, music and more!

As one of the first Diversity & Inclusion Global Innovation Networks in New Jersey, the Summit Area YMCA is proud to host the first ever Pride event on June 15 at Columbia Park in Berkeley Heights. From 4pm-7pm, participants can bring picnic blankets, baskets, food and enjoy an assortment of games, music, and more. Information tables will be available to help the community learn more and better understand the LGBTQ movement and celebrate pride in our town. Should it rain, the event will be moved indoors and carry on at the Gold Gym in Columbia Middle school.

“I am extremely excited to be part of the Y team hosting the Celebrate PRIDE event this year for the very first time. We have been wanting to do something in celebration of Pride month, and what better way to celebrate than by bringing people together for a beautiful summer evening of fun!” said Francesca Garrard, Program Director at the Berkeley Heights YMCA. “I am truly looking forward to seeing everyone having a blast while showing their support to the LGBTQ community.”

The Summit Area YMCA’s mission and goal is to include welcoming and inclusive activities, programs and services in our daily interactions and practices.

Earlier this month, YMCA of the USA and the Biden Foundation also announced a new initiative to help at-risk LGBTQ youth in the LGBTQ Inclusion and Equity Initiative. A group of various YMCAs in the nation will join together to create localized strategies to engage and support LGBTQ individuals and their families.

In an OpEd on CNN coauthored by VP Joe Biden and Kevin Washington, the negative treatment of the LGBTQ community has shown to be especially severe among youth, with five times morelikely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Additionally, the OpEd goes on to detail that LGBTQ individuals and families experience higher rates of poverty, food insecurity and violence.

“Supporting the well-being and safety of LGBTQ youth, adults, seniors and families is an important need in our communities,” said Kevin Washington, President & CEO of the YMCA of the USA. “Collectively, we can do something about it. Research has shown—and we've witnessed through the work of our organizations—that communities thrive when everyone has an equal opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute their talents and connect with their neighbors to work for the greater good.”

The Summit Area YMCA is dedicated to providing the community with services that can allow every individual to learn, grow and thrive. We have dedicated trainings for staff to learn the importance of the different dimensions of diversity, to achieve global leadership certifications, and get access to employee resources to best serve our members in a welcoming and supportive environment. The Summit Area YMCA has also hosted events like Holi Color Festival, Diwali Festival of Lights, Lunar New Year Festival, Special Needs Prom, swim lessons, yoga classes and various healthy living themed events for the Special Needs community in its inclusion efforts. The Summit Area YMCA also provides financial assistance for individuals and families with demonstrated need towards programs, memberships and childcare.

“The core of our mission is inclusion and accessibility for all. This event is just the beginning of our Y welcoming those who are healthy contributors to our community.
Together, we are working towards a more inclusive, and welcoming atmosphere for everyone.” said Paul Kieltyka, President & CEO of the Summit Area YMCA. “We at the Y are are proud to serve our community in building strong foundations for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.”

Join us on June 15 at Columbia Park in Berkeley Heights to celebrate and support love and equality for all.

Rain location: Gold Gym, Columbia Middle School



WHO: Family Fun event. All are welcome.


Register on Eventbrite to receive 5 free raffle tickets per attendee for a chance to win special prizes at the Celebrate PRIDE event!

Questions? Contact Francesca Garrard (P) 908 464 8373 ext. 2020 (E)

To learn more about the Summit Area YMCA’s role as a Diversity and Inclusion Global Innovation Network center, please visit

For more fun upcoming events, visit


About the Summit Area YMCA
The Summit Area YMCA is one of the area’s leading 501(c)3 charitable organizations. Founded in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA has a history steeped in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income and background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Each year, we serve more than 10,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the communities of Berkeley Heights, New Providence, Millburn, Springfield, Short Hills, Summit, Gillette, and Stirling. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those with demonstrated need. To strengthen your community and provide others with the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive, make your tax-deductible donation today at