HELP US MOVE FORWARD
Happy New Year! We are so thankful to all of you for your continued support and generosity. The last two years have not been easy for the YMCA community and we hope 2022 will bring some positive growth and hopefully some "normalcy" for our members, staff, and children. Your generous donation has helped us rebound from the pandemic and continue to help the many community neighbors who rely on us for assistance. As a non-profit organization, we provide our services to over 60,000 residents in our service area, which includes nine communities in Morris County. Where children are concerned, in addition to childcare, we manage a before and after school program, summer day camp, youth basketball programs, swim lessons, and so much more!
More than just a "gym" and "swim", the Greater Morristown YMCA's primary focus is childcare, and we currently operate 3 centers, 2 of which we own. The Richard F. Blake Children's Center is a 20,000 square foot facility, located at 65 Horsehill Road in Cedar Knolls. Angela's Place is our newest center located around the corner at 6 Saddle Road. Children's Corner is where we take care of the children of Atlantic Health System employees. During the pandemic, Children's Corner remained open so that the heroic front liners could go to work to combat COVID-19. Our staff showed up every day despite lacking any knowledge of how virulent COVID would become. We thank each and every one of them for their passion and dedication in caring for the children. The parents were so appreciative and relieved to know their children would continue to be cared for in a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment while they attended to those infected with the virus.
Starting in May, we were able to begin offering more swim lessons for the children, however, due to COVID rules and regulations, we were only able to offer lessons to those swimmers who were intermediate or advanced level due to social distancing guidelines. Fortunately, this changed in September and we were able to begin offering lessons for babies and preschoolers. With drowning being one of the top 5 causes of accidental death in children under the age of 6, it was imperative that we resumed teaching our young ones this life-saving skill.
On September 1st, Hurricane Ida seriously damaged the Richard F. Blake Children's Center. The water came in fast and furious and flooded the center in a matter of minutes. Fortunately, the timing of this flood was after hours so that no children or staff were present. Also, the flood occurred after our busy camp season which allowed us to house 45 children in the space normally used for camp. We obtained emergency licensing from both the State of New Jersey Office of Licensing and Hanover Township and we were able to transform our camp space into classrooms.
Atlantic Health System graciously accommodated our infants, waddlers, and toddlers with open arms. We added two classrooms at Angela's Place to accommodate two of our preschool expansion classes and then transformed the Armour Family Y-Zone Youth Annex into five classrooms for our preschoolers. Thankfully, we were able to accommodate all our children in the three separate locations. Our teachers were extraordinary and worked tirelessly to set up their temporary classrooms.
We worked feverishly to renovate the center which included installing new vinyl flooring, kitchenettes, changing tables, child and adult toilets, new faucets, and then painting the entire facility. These necessary updates completely transformed the center and it looks brand new! We were very fortunate to have flood insurance to cover most of the restoration expenses and to obtain the materials necessary to rebuild the center in spite of the supply chain issues. Thus we were able to reopen our doors on Monday, November 22nd, 2021, much to the delight of children, parents, and staff.
We hope you will continue to donate to this worthy cause! Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2022! TOGETHER WE CAN ACHIEVE SO MUCH MORE!