Strengthening Communities for 170 Years

Elizabeth, NJ, June 11, 2014 --( June 6, 2014 marked the 170th anniversary of the Y – a global organization that began with a simple but powerful idea: a strong, supportive community can help people build healthier, happier lives. Since its founding, the Y has grown into one of the world’s largest volunteer organizations and become renowned for its commitment to helping people of every background reach their potential.

From its humble beginnings on June 6, 1844 in London by George Williams and 11 friends, the Y saw to and met the practical and spiritual needs of young men flocking to London during the Industrial Revolution. Since then, the Y has grown and changed, meeting the needs of children, families and adults in 10,000 communities in the U.S. and 119 countries around the globe. Along the way, the Y is responsible for a number of innovations that influenced history and are part of our daily lives.

For instance:
• Basketball and volleyball were both invented at the Y.
• Night school and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes began at the Y.
• The world’s first indoor pool was at a Y, and the concept of group swim lessons started at the Y.
• The United Service Organizations (USO) was created with help from the Y, and the Peace Corps was patterned after a Y program.
• Father’s Day was created at a Y.

“Since 1900, The Gateway Family YMCA has been a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We’ve help thousands of community members through programs and services including housing, child care, summer camp, swimming lessons, gymnastics, sports, arts and adult day services,” stated Krystal R. Canady, CEO of The Gateway Family YMCA. For over 100 years, The Gateway Family YMCA has served the military and their families, offered services and support to immigrants, provided quality and affordable child and adult care, and provided transitional and permanent housing to those in need. “We are in a unique situation,” added Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO of The Gateway Family YMCA, “with branches in Elizabeth, Rahway and Union, we provide services that meet the individual community’s needs, allowing us to offer a very diverse list of programs and services to those who need us most.” In fact, The Gateway Family YMCA provides financial assistance, ensuring that the services are available to members of the community in need.

Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children, nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. The Gateway Family YMCA, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization of caring staff and volunteers dedicated to strengthening the foundations of community, providing quality services to people of all ages, races, faith or incomes. The Y doesn’t just strengthen bodies – it strengthens people, families and communities.

For more information about The Gateway Family YMCA, please visit or contact the Elizabeth Branch at or 908-355-9622, Five Points Branch at or 908-688-9622, Rahway Branch at or 732-388-0057 or Wellness Center Branch at or 908-349-9622.
The Gateway Family YMCA
Colleen Clayton