Grant Funding Enables YMCA to Support Vulnerable Demographic

YMCA Receives Grant from Westfield Foundation

The Westfield Foundation provided a $4,500 grant to The Gateway Family YMCA in support of the WISE Connect Program. This grant assists the YMCA in providing supportive services for individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive impairments and/or other functional challenges, as well as their caregivers.

“We are thankful for The Westfield Foundation, and their commitment to this unique demographic in our community,” stated Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “There is a greater need now, more than ever before, for this type of specialized programming. We know that the pandemic and social isolation have taken a tremendous toll on individuals and caregivers. The Westfield Foundation has been a wonderful partner to assist in our efforts and support.”

WISE Connect combines health and wellness opportunities with supportive activities and resources. The goal is to keep participants cognitively stimulated, physically active, and social engaged. Weekly virtual activities and bi-weekly in-person activities range from games; puzzles; discussion; and arts (journaling, storytelling, painting, poetry, music, movement) to education (healthy living, legal & financial planning, home safety, consumer awareness, aging issues) and exercise (cardio, yoga, resistance, balance, flexibility). 

All activities are designed and led by Activities Specialists with years of experience working with this demographic and certified fitness professionals. In addition to services provided to individuals with cognitive or functional impairments, WISE Connect also provides virtual and in-person social work services to their caregivers. This comes in the form of support groups, counseling, education, advocacy, information, referrals, and ongoing case management.

For over 38 years, The Gateway Family YMCA’s W.I.S.E. (Wellness, Independence and Socialization for our Elders) Community Services programs have specialized in meeting the unique needs of members living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive impairments and/or other functional challenges. With a strong focus on family and caregiver support, WISE Community Services programs provide caregivers a necessary respite while their loved ones are engaged in activities that challenge their minds, memories and creativity in a supportive environment. Throughout the global coronavirus pandemic, the Virtual WISE Adult Services program continues this commitment utilizing a unique format for the safety of WISE members.  WISE Fit Assist and WISE Connect Programs include in-person support and activities that supplement the daily virtual programs, and continue with supportive wrap-around services to the caregivers and families.

For more information about The Gateway Family YMCA, visit For information about the WISE Community Services programs, please contact Susan Butler, WISE Community Services Director at 908-349-9622 or

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