NEW BRUNSWICK — Three youth volunteers — Connie Ying, Gabriella Deliglio and Jose Medina — from three local YMCAs in Middlesex County were honored as “Youth Volunteer of the Year” at a recent ceremony for their service and commitment to the community.
Connie Ying, a volunteer and member of the Leader’s Club with the Metuchen branch of the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge and South Amboy, holds the number one spot for the most volunteer hours for cause-driven community service projects, setting the bar for her peers and making a real difference in the community.
Some of her community service projects included planning and implementing two Family Nights and Healthy Kids Day as well as cleaning up litter from Papainni Park in Edison
Gabriella Deliglio, of Raritan Valley YMCA in East Brunswick, who was a member of the Raritan Valley YMCA Riptide swim team for more than six years, offers her time to volunteer for the Y’s swim lesson program, supporting the Y’s Safety Around Water initiative which focuses on water safety and drowning prevention.
Jose Medina, of Raritan Bay YMCA in Perth Amboy, provides leadership skills through his involvement with the Student Entrepreneurial Educational Y’s Farmers Market, teaching basic business principles and providing greater health awareness and education into nearby communities.
The youngsters were recognized at the 18th annual New Jersey YMCA State Alliance Annual Recognition Celebration at the Hyatt New Brunswick on Oct. 15.
“Our volunteers allow us to sustain many of the programs that we offer to the community,” said Rose Cushing, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge, and South Amboy. “Their efforts also give our communities insight into the work that our organization does and educates community members about our mission.”.
Gina Stravic, president and CEO of the Raritan Valley YMCA, said the honorees have been selected for being positive role models among their peers and for modeling the Y core values of honesty, caring, respect and responsibility.
“The teens have made ongoing commitments to their local Ys,” she said. “They are gaining valuable skills and experiences that prepare them for personal growth, employment, and college and are hopefully beginning a lifelong promise to volunteerism.”
Steven Jobin, president and CEO of the Raritan Bay Area YMCA, said the Y’s in Middlesex County have been working together in providing for healthier communities.
“Our work inspires youth, connects neighbors and provides needed services and resources to support the health initiatives for all residents,” he said.
Also recognized at the event were John McManus, vice chairman of the Somerset County YMCA (SCYMCA) board of directors, and Gloria Ron-Fornes, trustee of the Summit Area YMCA.
McManus received the Social Responsibility Champion award, presented to a leader dedicated to giving back and providing support to our community. His ardent leadership, inspired volunteerism and passion for philanthropy allowed the SCYMCA to expand its support of the community through direct financial assistance and cause-driven programs.
Ron-Fornes was the recipient of the Martin Bartner award, which is presented to a diverse YMCA staff or volunteer leader whose efforts epitomize the Y’s core values and dedication to diversity and inclusion. When the Summit YMCA became the first Diversity, Inclusion and Global (DIG) YMCA in New Jersey, Ron-Fornes led the Y’s efforts to implement diversity and inclusion practices to ensure that they are integral to the Y’s everyday operations.
For information on volunteering at the Y, contact a local Y or visit www.njymca.org for a listing of Y’s and their contact information.