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 Youth Development
Where Kids Can Be Kids
“Our two active kids who went from being in school, playing sports, and in after care to now being home, all the time. We weighed the pros and cons and to think that our kids would waste away on devices all summer while we were also trying to work and be productive made no sense. Camp was the best place for them to be especially since Y Camp worked very smartly with the Board of Health and followed the CDC guidelines (temperatures taken, masks, sanitizing statins, outdoor hand washing sinks). It was a big help camp was largely run outdoors and so a much less risky place to be. The first day I picked them up from camp they were like two different kids - happier than I have seen them in months.” - Judy
“The Achievers program gave me invaluable information about how I could afford college and helped alleviate my fears about not being able to attend. I learned about scholarships, federal and state aid and that many colleges gave needs-based grants. Knowing I had options gave me hope. Achievers has taught me about the college process, college life, how to network and get a job, the importance of preparing for an interview and more. After high school I want to go to college, study criminal justice, and become a cop. I don’t want to give up on the people who worked so hard for me to get to this point. Someday I want to come back to Achievers and inspire others just like others have inspired me” - 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, osteoporosis, and 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, confusion, and Alzheimer’s. I don’t say it’s gone, but I’m thinking better. They saw me before with a cane or a 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 I'm 15 years old! The staff are all so friendly. When you come into the YMCA, everybody says, 'Good morning!' and asks how you are doing and when you leave they say 'Goodbye, have a nice day." - Yolanda
"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.
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.
“The Y to me is the bridge. The bridge to help our families, to receive the resources that they need. I’ve heard from many families, how helpful just getting the backpack has supplied food to their children, who they couldn’t feed over the weekends, who they, you know they’ve lost a paycheck, or they stopped working and how this program alone has helped the families over, so I’m very happy to be a part of that.” - Joseph C.
“Something that I think that I can only speak for myself as a special needs parent, and I think sometimes it doesn’t get talked about a lot. It kind of does but there is, there’s like shame that can kind of be involved in it. Where you feel like, are things measuring up? And you’re, you know it can be difficult at times to go into the community and everything.”
“And I think without the Y, like, you wouldn’t have, you wouldn’t have met those people, or we wouldn’t have done those classes because we probably just wouldn’t have had the time or anything, but because we have the Y, we can do it.” - Alexis & Anita
“Another great thing about the Summit YMCA is that they host the garden, the community garden, which has been a huge part of my own healing. I could have a garden plot, in a sunny spot where there’s water and I can teach my kids about gardening.” - Kara W.
“YMCA is a part of DNA here in Summit, to be honest with you that’s how I see it. Individuals like myself can realize own dreams, how to help, what to do in the community without opening and own, you know, a nonprofit organization.” - Dorota S.
“I became the facilitator of the program. It was just a perfect fit for me because I’ve been through the program and I just know how much it will benefit, and I know, you know, all the positive that comes from being a part of the Achievers program.” - Trevor K.
“I got a little down and I stress ate. You know, moving stressful. I didn’t know anybody here. So, I wasn’t motivated to go to these classes. I didn’t want to leave the house, to drag myself to the gym.” - Christy
“I needed someone that, or something, that was going to accommodate my financial needs. At the time I lost my job so when I came to the Y, and I kind of explained my situation, I was very embarrassed, very ashamed and they told me that they would work with my financial needs.” - Miaya
“The support of meeting other people who are on the same medicines as I am, having the same side effects, and a little bit of coaching. ‘Have you tried eating more broccoli leaves?’ No I never thought to eat broccoli leaves. Well that can help with some of the side effects. To have these other people who are in similar boats, whether their age or their diagnosis was the same as mine. We all had our lives turned upside down and we can kind of make some progress together here in a safe place where it’s okay to cry. How do I get that energy level back? How do I safely feel good again? You do it through the LIVESTRONG® program." - Laurie
“He is going to be invited to more pool parties you just never know. There’s a lot of kids running around, and anything could happen. Somebody could jump on him, he gets shoved under, he could be having fun and holding his breath with a friend, and it goes wrong, you know. I mean, you just don’t know, there’s so many variables, so I want to know that he can get out of any situation he’s in.” - Arthur