On Sunday, November 14, 2021, the Summit Area YMCA, in partnership with the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council and the Diversity Committee of New Providence, hosted the 2021 Diwali Celebration at the brand-new Berkeley Heights YMCA. Diwali, The Festival of Lights, is one of the biggest and auspicious festivals celebrated by Hindus all around the globe. The festival of lights signifies peace and joy, the victory of good over evil, and light over darkness every day. It is one of the most symbolic Hindu festivals, and is grandiosely celebrated with much pomp.
Rupa Kale, from the Diversity Committee of New Providence, was the emcee for the event and opened the celebration by explaining the significance of Diwali, introducing the lighting ceremony, special performances, delicious food from Rinku's Kitchen and Neelam Fine Indian Kitchen, and activities for guests such as henna, temporary tattoos, and colorful artwork.
"I was so happy to be able to host Diwali again this year, especially in the brand new spacious Berkeley Heights YMCA," said Tiffany Escott, Mission Advancement and Development Director of the Summit Area YMCA. "It was heartwarming to see our community come together once again to celebrate this wonderful occasion. When we opened the guest list this year, it was full in less than 24 hours! We're hopeful that next year's celebration will be even bigger and better!"
The fashion show, dance, and musical performances from the Sanchari School of Dance and both the Berkeley Heights and New Providence Indian Community were the highlight of the night's event. Incase you missed the event in-person and all of the wonderful performances, we encourage you to view our Facebook Live video replay here.
The Summit Area YMCA would like to give a special thanks to the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council and the Diversity Committee of New Providence for co-hosting the event with the Y; in addition to, Rupa Kale for emceeing; Vishakha Bansal overall helped to engage with the Indian community, identify the teachers & participants and coordination front to back for the Diwali performances; Ayana Joseph from the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council for organizing; and Mailesh Shah, Berkeley Heights YMCA Advisory Board Member, for volunteering his time; and all the performers from the Sanchari School of Dance and both the Berkeley Heights and New Providence Indian Community. The Y would also like to thank special guests from the Berkeley Heights Council, Manuel Cuoto, Alvaro Medeiros and Geniana Brahimaj, along with New Providence Mayor, Al Morgan, and Council Members, Matthew Cumiskey and Peter DeSarno, for attending this special community event.
To see all the event photos, be sure to check out the Summit Area YMCA's Facebook page.
The Summit Area YMCA is New Jersey's first Diversity, Inclusion & Global Innovation Network, working to encourage a culture of diversity and inclusion in and out of the Y. As an organization with welcoming, inclusive practices and environments, the Y welcomes and engages people of all diverse groups to help create lasting, meaningful change within our communities and the world around us. Want to partner with the Y on your next community event? Contact Tiffany Escott, Summit Area YMCA - Mission Advancement and Development Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 1886, we were founded as the Young Men's Christian Association, but today, we are The Y. An association that values, and is made stronger by, its diverse people. We stand for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility — For a better us. We are committed to creating equal opportunity for all regardless of gender, age, disability, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive culture in which our four core values — responsibility, honesty, caring and respect — are integral to everyday operations.
Each year, as one of the area’s leading 501(c)3 charitable organizations, the Summit Area YMCA serves more than 15,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the New Jersey communities of Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, Stirling and Summit. Our history is rooted in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those in need.