Sweeney Receives 2009 ‘Friend Of The Y’ Award From NJ Association Of YMCAS

MONROE – At the annual New Jersey YMCA State Alliance Awards Dinner held last night at the Forsgate Country Club in Monroe, Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney received a “Friend of the Y” award in recognition of his personal involvement with the YMCA organizations in the State and his commitment to the values and principles of the Y.

“I’m proud to stand alongside the State’s YMCA chapters as we work towards the realization of their mission of building strong kids, strong families and strong communities,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Thorofare. “New Jersey’s 44 YMCA branches fulfill many vital needs in our State’s neighborhoods, whether it’s access to health and wellness programs, child care, swimming lessons, or family bonding activities. I’m happy to support the Y in its various programs benefitting kids, families, adults and seniors in the Garden State.”

At last night’s ceremony, youth and adult volunteers were honored for devoting their time, energy and talents to making the State’s various YMCA programs a success. Senator Sweeney noted that the success of YMCA chapters in New Jersey and around the country is dependent on the commitment and dedication of a devoted corps of volunteers who help programs run smoothly.

“The entire State of New Jersey owes a debt of gratitude to the dedicated YMCA volunteers who have given so much of their time and energy to improving the services provided by their local Y,” said Senator Sweeney. “These are folks who have truly put service above self, and have helped make the YMCA an integral part of their community.”

In addition to Senator Sweeney and the adult and youth volunteers honored at last night’s dinner, Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-11, was also named a “Friend of the Y,” and State Department of Health Commissioner Heather Howard received the “Spirit of the Y Award.”

Senator Sweeney added that in tough economic times, non-profit community groups like the YMCA become even more important to the community, filling in gaps where publicly-funded social services programs end, offering inexpensive dues to use health and exercise equipment, and providing alternatives for kids from being recruited into criminal street gangs.

“The YMCA does so much for New Jersey, and I’m proud to continue to support them in their goals,” said Senator Sweeney. “At a time when families are struggling financially, the YMCA offers a less expensive avenue for recreation and child care, and helps keep kids at-risk of gang recruitment off the streets and out of trouble. I look forward to continuing to work together with the Statewide YMCA programs at a time when their services are needed now more than ever.”