OLD BRIDGE – The Old Bridge Family YMCA has a new group of advocates to help ensure that all area children and families can experience the Y, regardless of their ability to pay.
The family health and wellness facility, part of the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County, has established the Old Bridge Branch Advisory Council to support the organization’s charitable mission and cause to strengthen community, according to information provided by the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County.
The volunteer council is led by former township Mayor Russell Azzarello, a longtime YMCA supporter and board member, civic leader, and business development professional.
“The YMCA of Greater Monmouth County is thrilled to launch the Old Bridge Branch Advisory Council under Russell’s leadership to help guide our efforts to strengthen the Old Bridge community,” Laurie Goganzer, president and chief executive officer of the Y, which provides extensive programs and services to approximately 35,000 people in Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties, said in the statement.
Azzarello has been a supporter of the Y since 2002 and currently serves on the board of directors of the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County, according to the statement. The regional YMCA was established in 2019 following a merger of The Community YMCA and the YMCA of Western Monmouth County.
Azzarello is vice president of Denholtz Properties, a commercial real estate development and investment company based in Red Bank.
He served as mayor in the 1980s and is past president of the Old Bridge Chamber of Commerce.
The advisory council will focus on fundraising and advocacy to support youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility programs and initiatives, Goganzer said in the statement.
In addition to Azzarello, township residents appointed to the YMCA Old Bridge Advisory Council are:
- Carlo Castronovo, owner, Giuseppe’s Pizza
- Patrick D’Onofrio, detective, Old Bridge Township Police Department
- June Dungee, commissioner, Old Bridge Housing Authority
- Kelly Ellis-Foster, board member, Old Bridge Township Board of Education
- Amanda Giuliano, director of marketing and outreach, Sayre Woods Bible Church
- Kathleen Hoeker, assistant superintendent, Old Bridge Public Schools
- Matt Mercurio, director of Parks and Recreation, Old Bridge Township
- Freddy Rojas, banking center manager, Provident Bank
- Robert Verney, Jr., chief of fire administration, Old Bridge Township, District 3
- Robert Weiss, Jr., retired captain, Old Bridge Police Department
Azzarello said he looks forward to collaborating with the volunteer council to “advocate for the Y and raise support and awareness for the wide array of vital services that the Y provides to people of all ages, incomes and backgrounds in our Old Bridge community,” according to the statement.
As a charitable organization, the Y offers financial assistance for membership and program services on a needs-based sliding scale, based on family size and income. The assistance is made possible by contributions from individuals, businesses, foundations, and government grants.
The Old Bridge Family YMCA, located at 1 Mannino Drive, opened in 2009. The 31,500-square-foot facility features an eight-lane swimming pool, cardio fitness workout area, aerobic wellness studio, and a full-size gymnasium. In addition to an array of health and fitness programs, the Y hosts summer camp, provides after school child care in area schools and therapeutic counseling for people of all ages.
During the pandemic, the Y supported the community with food distribution, emergency child care, blood drives and COVID vaccines, according to the statement.
“The YMCA is always here to meet the needs of our community and we are grateful for the volunteers who help us deliver our mission,” Goganzer said in the statement.