READ TESTIMONIALS FROM MEMBERS, VOLUNTEERS, STAFF AND MORE.
Since its founding in 1886, The Summit Area YMCA has positively impacted the lives of many members in our community and beyond. From helping cancer recovery patients to providing financial assistance to those in need, to motivating you to reach your wellness goals, to making safe spaces for children with diverse abilities—we care about our neighbors and work to provide every individual opportunities to learn, grow and thrive. These are their stories.
For social responsibility
Supporting our community
"Once a week I deliver for someone. She doesn’t drive and she has three kids. Last week, I knocked on the door, and there was this little boy, two years old maybe, he comes and says to me in Spanish, ‘Oh you’re bringing the food! I’m so happy! We’re going to have something to eat!’ So imagine how I felt. I went back to my car and cried. Sometimes we take things for granted." - Ceci A.
“My first impression, I think, was that it was just a really nice gym, but I thought ‘it was just another gym.’ When I found out that you guys were giving free memberships to military members, it changed my perspective because I just thought that was such a great way to show caring for the community and just military members and their families who might have a little extra on their plates at times.” – Brittany F.
"Paul, a personal trainer at the Berkeley Heights YMCA, invited my son Brian to work out with him at no extra charge. The Y has helped Brian be motivated to set goals, stay on track, and achieve results. He’s lost over 20lbs since he started working out and is so much more self-confident—he feels like he’s accomplishing something. It is affirming to see your child succeed in a welcoming environment. I’m blessed." - Debra M.
“I think that the camp was very smart in working with the Board of Health and following the CDC guidelines and I do feel, for me, it was a big help that his camp is largely run outdoors. So knowing that being outside is a much less risky place to be than inside was a huge factor in us saying, you know without question, if camp is open then the boys are going to go. They’re having their temperatures taken, they’re reinforcing the hand sanitizer, they’re washing their hands, and they’re outside. I think everything is in place so that they can still have a good experience and it’s being done in a way that’s responsible. The day I picked them up from camp, they were like two different kids getting in the car. ” - Judy
“It [The Achievers Program] gave me motivation that I could really become someone that I wanted to, even at my class level or financial area. I really got to learn that it wasn’t just education that colleges were looking for, but the activities outside of it, what kind of person you were individually, and how you could separate from everybody else. My plans for after high school is to go to college, study criminal justice, and become a cop. I don’t want to give up on the people that have tried so hard for me to get to this point. I’ve become somebody that really wants to inspire other people and someday come back here give other people information and inspire someone like I have been.” - Jeffrey
“As a single working mother going to school full time, I needed an affordable, quality childcare program for Gaven, my 2 year old. With the generous financial assistance from the Summit Area YMCA, I was able to leave Gaven in the hands of caring, attentive teachers who wanted only the best for him. After 6-7 months in the Toddler program, Gaven was diagnosed with kidney cancer and I had to pull him from school. The teachers regularly sent me emails rooting for his speedy recovery and return. Today we're back at the Y and Gaven is getting stronger physically and emotionally every day. The Y is truly a community that supports, loves and helps you when you need it.” - Sianneth
“I was the fat kid in high school and I was also the kid that got picked on the most. I was divorced and I gained 70lbs in less than a year. My friends, I had distanced myself from. But I would still be sitting at home on the couch eating a pint of ice cream and wondering what was wrong with me. So I stopped by the YMCA and I decided just to start swimming one day. I started off just doing two, three laps and then I came back the next day and did 10 laps. Then I came back the next day and did 20 laps and now when I come swimming I do close to a mile within 25, 26 minutes.” - Owen
“They said, ‘Go to the YMCA. It’s helpful and it will make you feel pretty good.’ They pushed me. And the real irony is that I’d get in the car and go home, still not cured of course, but I felt better. LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA helped to make me more knowledgeable about my physical needs. Richard, you don’t have to do 40 push-ups, but you can do just six and that’s six more than you would have done. They would help me to appreciate the people around me. I don’t know where else where you get that kind of intense love and care. That’s what the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA is.’’ - Richard
“I have arthritis. I have osteoporosis. I have Alzheimer’s. I have a knee replacement with iron. Now since I started in the YMCA, I feel so good and healthy. Before I had a headache, confused, and Alzheimer’s. I don’t say it’s gone, but I’m thinking better. They saw me before with cane, with stroller, and now I don’t take anything. I have better balance and I’m happy. Since I do exercise, I feel free. I feel like 15 years old! When you come into YMCA, everybody says, ‘Good morning! How are you? How are you feeling? Okay Yolanda, bye-bye! Have a nice weekend!’ Everybody!" - Yolanda
As a mother and someone who has suffered a hip injury, it's very important to me to go to the gym everyday—or to "therapy" as I like to call it. I look forward to the friendly environment, to the variety of classes, to sweating, to working hard, and doing something for me. I can go to the Y and forget about all my worries and cares for an hour, and I always leave feeling much better, physically and emotionally. Working out at the Y and making so many friends there has built my body back up from the inside out, and I feel stronger than I ever have before. The Y gave us a community, a place for us to go to become better, healthier, and happier people.
"Paul, a personal trainer at the Berkeley Heights YMCA, invited my son Brian to work out with him at no extra charge. The Y has helped Brian be motivated to set goals, stay on track, and achieve results. He’s lost over 20 lbs since he started working out and is so much more self-confident—he feels like he’s accomplishing something. It is affirming to see your child succeed in a welcoming, tolerant environment. I’m blessed."
As a child, the Summit YMCA was a healthy outlet for me—basketball, Achievers, summer camp, and mentors. Achievers taught me what it was like to be strong, intelligent and to pursue my dreams. The Y provides financial assistance to those that need it, but positive assistance for all. I love working with kids in child care and summer camp—I thrive on the challenge that each day brings and it’s so rewarding to see how I positively impact a child’s life. It’s great to be able to give back and be some kid’s superman!
When we say that the Summit Area YMCA welcomes everyone, we mean it. As the first Diversity, Inclusion & Global Innovation Network of New Jersey, we strive to continuously welcome and engage all people from all diverse groups of the community through welcoming, inclusive practices, program innovation, services and events to help impact lasting, meaningful change. We believe in the strength of community and supporting our neighbors for a better tomorrow, for a better us.
LIVESTRONG® AT THE YMCA cancer recovery
“LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA has taught me more about my physical self—I don’t have to force myself to do 40 pushups to be macho, I can do six and that’s already six more than I would have done yesterday. The Y staff has guided me with kindness and support, and they are clearly knowledgeable about our individual physical and emotional needs. LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA has taken me across the gate into living beyond the disease of cancer, and I am both more confident and healthier as a result.”
“I am learning freestyle, backstroke, and how to float—I didn’t know how to before I came to the Y. You don’t have to be scared because the teachers and lifeguards are there to teach you. Swim lessons prevent accidents. I am really glad the Y has free Learn to Swim classes for 2nd Graders.”
“As a single working mother going to school full time, I needed an affordable, quality childcare program for Gaven, my 2 year old. With the generous financial assistance from the Summit Area YMCA, I was able to leave Gaven in the hands of caring, attentive teachers who wanted only the best for him. After 6-7 months in the Toddler program, Gaven was diagnosed with kidney cancer which had metastacized to his lungs and I had to pull him from school. The teachers regularly sent me emails rooting for his speedy recovery and return. Today we're back at the Y and Gaven is getting stronger physically and emotionally every day. The Y is truly a community that supports, loves and helps you when you need it.”
"I love the Y's group fitness classes like TRX and indoor cycling. They are such a treat for me because I feel like I’m in great hands and I’m part of a community. Everyone’s rooting for each other, it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from, what size you are or what your physical ability is, you’re welcome and you’ll succeed just by stepping into class. My daughter is at the same age where I started binging, and to have the support of the YMCA so we can walk on the treadmill together, we can swim together, we can cycle together—so the YMCA really supports me in building a healthy relationship with her, my other children and for myself. I could not be more grateful for the place that the YMCA has in my heart, and in my family and in my life." - Kara
"A year and a half ago, I was in a week long coma and the doctors told my kids to prepare for my funeral because I probably wasn’t going to make it. I always thought my heart was fine, but after testing I only had 45-50% cardiac usage. After joining the Healthy Hearts Cardiac Rehab program at the Y, I can tell I am getting stronger. I like that the instructors encourage you to be independent. If you have someone show you what to do all the time, you don’t learn. Now, I can walk into the fitness center and know what machines to use and how to use them. I really look forward to coming here and I’m glad I signed up for the program." - Arthur
"I have a son, AJ, he’s on the Autism Spectrum. He’s a great, lovable kid but it’s kind of difficult when you’re on the spectrum—he can’t really communicate well. So when we took AJ to his first Sundays in Motion at the Y, he gets to interact with other similar kids in a safe environment, and he gets to enjoy the gym activities and swimming. It’s very important to us to find programs for AJ because it helps him develop and become part of society. He’s still a child, you still want him to experience being young and enjoying life. It’s a no judgement zone and it makes him happy. He looks forward to coming here. Seeing AJ enjoy himself, especially swimming, has been wonderful." - Sarah