Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA Kicks Off Annual Campaign to Help Those in Need in our Community

The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA (FSPY) kicked off its Annual Campaign on Thursday, January 31, 2019 with an event at the Scotch Hills Country Club. Over 80 people attended and learned about the YMCA’s Annual Campaign through stories of those who have been helped by it.

“The YMCA and people like you have given my sons and myself so many opportunities. They gave me the opportunity to work and know my sons were safe during after school hours as well as the assurance that there is some place I can turn if I’m in need of assistance,” speaker Cindy Gaud told the audience.

She added, “The Y has given my sons so much, the opportunity to learn healthy habits and life-saving skills during their growing process, a place to socialize with friends and make new ones and the formation of habits that will accompany them throughout their life.”

The Annual Campaign is the YMCA’s yearly fundraising initiative that helps to support their financial assistance program. Last year, FSPY gave out $315,463 to support a number of programs and services, including: membership; 7th Grade Initiative program; chronic disease prevention programs; child care; day camp; aquatics, and more.

This year, FSPY’s goal is to raise at least $125,000 so they can help more people like Jessica Serna, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2012. As she explained to attendees, the diagnosis changed her life drastically – her eyesight worsened, she had trouble with her balance, and eventually had to stop working at her full-time job.

Through the Y’s partnership with Kessler Rehabilitation Center, Mrs. Serna learned about the MS Aquatic Exercise class at FSPY which is designed to enhance the quality of life for those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The program helps participants increase their strength, flexibility and endurance, as well as promotes balance, stability, fine motor skills and emotional health.

“My body is not only growing stronger physically, but mentally as well with all the friendships I’ve made with the others in my classes,” she said. “Getting to know others with MS has been beyond priceless. I am forever grateful to the YMCA for the opportunity they gave me.”

This year’s FSPY Annual Campaign is inspired by the work of the late Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers) who, like the YMCA, was accepting of all people regardless of their background. The theme is neighbors helping neighbors. The campaign is led by FSPY Fundraising Chair Andy Calamaras, and Board Chair Mary DePaola.

“Mr. Rogers was a beloved character that most of us look back on kindly from our childhood because you knew, no matter what, he was in your corner,” said Kim Decker, FSPY Chief Executive Officer. “He believed in strengthening communities by helping your neighbors in need and that’s what the Y is here to do as well.”

To learn more about the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA’s Annual Campaign, please visit All funds raised stay in our community to help those facing financial hardship. Those in need of financial assistance can visit to view the application.

About the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA
The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. For information on membership or programs, or to request a schedule of classes, please call the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA at 908-889-8880 or visit Financial assistance is available for those who qualify. The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is located at 1340 Martine Avenue in Scotch Plains.

(above) Kim Decker, Chief Executive Officer of the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA, Andy Calamaras, Board Fundraising Chair, and Mary DePaola, Board Chair, at the Y’s 2019 Annual Campaign Kick Off on January 31, 2019.