YMCA of MEWSA celebrates 100th anniversary

Rose Cushing, YMCA of MEWSA president and CEO, presents the Malinowski awards to Brandon Wizda, left to right, Alyssa Waldron, Andrea Febres and Jennifer Cruz.

The YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy (MEWSA) held its annual dinner, celebrating the highlights of the year as well as commemorating the 100th anniversary of the nonprofit’s service to the Greater Middlesex County community.

Bruce Peragallo, educator and retired principal of Metuchen High School, was presented with the Charles S. Edgar Memorial Award on May 25 at the Pines Manor in Edison.


This award is given to an individual who has greatly served the youth of the community, exemplifies community spirit, has contributed to the community through a variety of organizations and in a variety of roles and is responsive to and interested in the work of the YMCA, according to a statement provided by the Y.

Peragallo has worked in the field of education for over 44 years and also volunteers his time in youth sports. He served as board chair to the YMCA of MEWSA from 2015-19, and continues to serve as a board member, according to the statement.

Piscataway Township Mayor Brian C. Wahler was presented with the Peter J. Barnes, Jr. Community Champion Award. Under his vision, a unique partnership between the Township of Piscataway and the YMCA of MEWSA was established, according to the statement. In October 2020, the YMCA at the Piscataway Community Center (YPCC) was completed.

The YPCC has provided key services to the community including providing health and wellness services to more than 4,000 families, according to the statement. Beyond traditional services like swimming, sports and fitness, the YPCC has served Piscataway during difficult times for the members of our community such as an emergency shelter for residents during Tropical Storm Ida in 2021, becoming a COVID-19 vaccination site, and helping families through food and blood drives.

Withum was presented with the Community Partner Award, which celebrates and recognizes community organizations who have made significant contributions to the YMCA and the community. Withum’s principal is one of giving back to nonprofit organizations through volunteerism and community outreach and deepening ties within the community, according to the statement. During the pandemic, the firm provided much-needed financial and operational guidance essential to keeping many nonprofits’ operations running.

Also presented were the Malinowski awards, presented to outstanding youth employees from the YMCA of MEWSA and now, Piscataway. Honorees include Alyssa Waldron from the Edison branch, Andrea Febres from the South Amboy branch, Brandon Wizda from the Piscataway branch and Jennifer Cruz from the Child Care branch.

Also of note was the appointment of John Dowd as chairman to the YMCA of MEWSA Board of Directors. Dowd will serve a two-year term, with responsibilities including presiding at all meetings of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee, assuming a leadership role in the annual Support Campaign, forwarding the organization’s missions, programs and core values and maximizing individual board member achievement in fundraising, branch events, board meetings and committee activities through personal leadership and chain of command, according to the statement.

Proceeds from the annual dinner go to the annual Support Campaign, which provides lifechanging programs and services to families in the community.

To make a donation, contact Elizabeth Bennett at [email protected] or visit www.ymcaofmewsa.org/giving/give.