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red bank ymcaThe Red Bank nonprofit says no families of kids now in a free membership program will be turned away. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s volunteer firefighters will get to keep their free memberships to the local YMCA, the organization announced Wednesday.

Police will still have to pay, though now at a discount, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit said. But there’s no change to the plan unveiled last week to end across-the-board free memberships for borough schoolchildren.

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red bank pasquale mennaRed Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna speaking at the the Memorial Day ceremony last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


hot topic red bank njRed Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna on Thursday blasted a decision by the Community YMCA to end free memberships for borough schoolchildren and emergency first-responders.

Menna went on the offensive after the Y’s “unilateral” action, which he said was made without any advance notice to or discussion with his administration.

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red bank ymcaThe Red Bank YMCA says affected families can apply for subsidies to replace the free memberships. Below, the letter sent to parents of children in the Healthy Kids program. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


Red Bank YMCA letter 061919Red Bank’s schoolchildren and emergency first-responders will lose their free access to the borough YMCA in September.

The Maple Avenue nonprofit’s executive director, Katie McAdoo, tells redbankgreen the change was driven by its need to be “accountable” to funders.

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raed-abu-liel-hannah-rendellTwo representatives from the Jerusalem International YMCA, Raed Abu Leil and Hannah Rendell, visit the CYMCA in Red Bank on November 11 for a special free public discussion.

Press release from The Community YMCA

The current situation in the city of Jerusalem — and the important work of the Jerusalem International YMCA (JIY) towards conflict mitigation — will be the topic of a public-welcome discussion, hosted on Friday, November 11 at The Community YMCA  Family Health and Wellness Center in Red Bank.

Scheduled for 7 p.m. inside the facility’s gymnasium, the free presentation will feature two guest speakers with experience and expertise in fostering a better and more peaceful Jerusalem, and who are passionate about the importance of shared positive experiences between Israeli and Palestinian communities.

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modelun2015Left to right: Red Bank Regional High School students Lauren O’Brien, Victoria Ovanesian, Jack Anderson, Kristen Wimmer and Brianna Napoli were among those who held leadership positions during the 2015 Model UN Conference in Hershey, PA.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School 

This past January, a group of students from Red Bank Regional High School participated in the YMCA Model United Nations Conference, held in Hershey, PA. Several of the RBR students held leadership positions, while others were recognized with several awards.

Victoria Ovanesian (17, Little Silver) held the esteemed position as chair of the Arab League, while Jack Anderson (17, Little Silver) was invited as an alternate to the highly selective Conference of National Affairs. Kristen Wimmer (15, Little Silver) was recognized as the Outstanding First Year Delegate for the Social & Humanitarian Committee. Lauren O’Brien (17, Red Bank) was honored as the Premier Diplomat for the European Union, and Brianna Napoli (17, Interlaken) received the Outstanding Country Award for her representation of Egypt.

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Press release from The Community YMCA

CYMCA 1The Borough of Red Bank — and several local individuals — were acknowledged for their long-time support of The Community YMCA, when the organization celebrated its 140th anniversary on September 27.

During the gala event at Camp Arrowhead in Marlboro, CYMCA president and CEO Rhonda Anderson gave homage to Red Bank, longtime host site of the organization’s Maple Avenue facility, by presenting the Community Partner Award to Mayor Pasquale Menna and the members of the Borough Council. Ms. Anderson is pictured at center, with (left to right in photo) Councilman Ed Zipprich, Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, Mayor Menna, and Councilwomen Juanita Lewis and Kathleen Horgan.

More than 200 people attended the annual benefit, which raised over $150,000 to support the Y’s mission to ensure that everyone — regardless of age, income or background — has access to life-changing YMCA programs and services.

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Superheros in ActionAvengers Assemble: the costumes aren’t necessary, but “Super Heroes” ages 3 to 6 are invited to learn teamwork and more, in a fun-packed class presented by the Community YMCA. (Halloween file photos by John T. Ward and Peter Lindner)

[CORRECTION: The original version of this post incorrectly attributed these programs to Red Bank’s Parks & Recs Department. Obviously, they’re Community YMCA events. We apologize for the error.]

Having fun, while learning hands-on skills, valuable lessons and fitness fundamentals is the order of the day, as Red Bank’s Community YMCA inaugurates a new slate of fall classes for kids between the ages of 3 and 13.

It’s a schedule that kicks off right now with an all new activity aimed at young Super Heroes in Action ages 3 to 6. While it’s not necessary to dress in capes, cowls and costumes, budding heroes can take the opportunity to “soar, jump and run in this fun, action-packed class based on character development, team work and more.” Classes are held twice weekly; Tuesdays at 9:30 am and Thursdays at 3:30 pm.

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Press release from Lunch Break of Red Bank

This Saturday, June 28, the Red Bank-based nonprofit Lunch Break and The Community YMCA are co-sponsoring a Community Health Fair, at CYMCA’s facility on Maple Avenue. Scheduled to be held between the hours of noon and 3 pm, it marks a natural collaboration between Lunch Break — an organization whose mission statement says in part, “our mission is to alleviate hunger and lead those we serve to self-sufficiency and healthier lifestyles” —  and the YMCA, a 140-year mainstay of local life whose mission is to promote healthy living and support the health and well-being of the entire community.

Health care, mental health care, social service professionals, military veterans resources, and Pawsitive Action will be on hand at the health fair to provide information.  There will be exercise demonstrations and games, as well as giveaways and refreshments. Everyone is welcome, and attendees are encouraged to bring family and friends.

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rb cymca 1 060414 rb cymca 2 060414Elliott Wright, Claudia Garcia, Anthony Burden and Hannah Ludwikowski leap into the pool at the Community YMCA as part of the Red Bank facility’s annual summer learn-to-swim program last week. At right, Treasure Woods, Anthony Burden and Hannah practice their kicks. The program offered free water safety instruction for all third-graders at Red Bank Primary and Charter Schools. (Photos by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)



sourceIn partnership with the Horizon Student Enrichment Program in Rumson, and donated space in the River Street Commons, the RBR SOURCE was able to create a valuable evening tutoring program for students in the community. 

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Red Bank Regional High School offers many opportunities for their students to excel and succeed, including after-school tutoring at the high school. Recently, though, math teacher Sunny Lenhard identified an unmet need.

“One day I had two students at my door at 7:30 in the morning, asking, pleading for help,” she recalls.  Their homework paper was worn through from their constant erasures.  They exclaimed, ‘We can’t go to after-school help because of sports and no one for ten miles around here knows how to help with this math!’”

She discovered that other students had similar needs — especially if they had to leave directly after school for work or home obligations. She mentioned the issue to Suzanne Keller, Freshman Academy Supervisor, and director of THE SOURCE, RBR’s School Based Youth Services Program, whose mission is “To remove all obstacles that impede the success of young people in the community.”

Ms. Keller presides over the SOURCE’s community advisory board, and brought the need to that entity. Lori Hohenleitner, the Executive Director of Horizons Student Enrichment Program (based in Rumson) and The SOURCE advisory council member, thought this presented a great opportunity to help out RBR and also fulfill her organization’s desire to expand their services at the high school level.

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outdoorfit5-fanelli2011Whether you make your home in Red Bank or make a living here, the free weekly Wednesday evening fitness classes at Riverside Gardens Park are an energizing alternative to rush-hour traffic. (Photo by Peter Lindner) 

Yoga, Zumba, Tai Chi and Pilates are the order of the evening — in a setting that’s both attuned to relaxing riverside vistas and plugged into the energy of downtown Red Bank — as a new Wednesday evening series of free fitness classes continues at Riverside Gardens Park.

Conducted by instructors from the Community YMCA from 6 to 7 pm, the free outdoor sessions are presented in partnership with Red Bank Parks and Recreation and the Mayor’s Wellness Campaign — and they’re open to anyone who lives and/or works in the borough.

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Press release from Lunch Break of Red Bank

For years, Lunch Break has served as the first line of defense for thousands of residents of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and beyond, in the ever-expanding battle against hunger and the ravages of poverty in the midst of affluence. According to the nonprofit organization’s executive director Gwen Love, food pantry distributions have increased by a staggering amount, with more than 750 area families depending on Lunch Break each and every month for groceries — amounting to nearly 400,000 pounds of food.

“Unfortunately, it’s a sign of the times,” said Love. “Summer is especially difficult, with schools closed and many people on vacation…but hunger doesn’t close for the summer or go on vacation.”

Between the hours of 11 am and 2 pm on Saturday, May 17, Lunch Break will host the third annual “Foodstock” community food drive at the Red Bank Middle School, 101 Harding Road. The goal this year is to collect an ambitious 50,000 pounds of non-perishable food — and all members of the greater Red Bank community are invited to spend the afternoon enjoying live music, good food,  good friends, and a chance to learn more about Lunch Break and its committed Board of Trustees, staff and volunteers.

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CYMCAPress release from The Community YMCA

On Saturday, April 26, The Community YMCA is hosting a free community event to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active. Hosted at the CYMCA’s Family Health & Wellness Center on Maple Avenue, the event — part of the national YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day® initiative — begins with a free, healthy breakfast sponsored by The Family Dinner Project and Cheerios. The 9 am sitting is followed at 10 am by games and “field day” activities to motivate and teach families how to develop a healthy routine at home.

Healthy Kids Day was established in 1992 in response to the alarming statistics that indicate one in three American children as being obese, and that kids become more idle when summertime hits. Research shows that without access to out-of-school physical and learning activities, kids fall behind academically and gain weight twice as fast during the summer vacation than throughout the school year.

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Press release from The Community YMCA

On Saturday, April 26, The Community YMCA‘s Family Health and Wellness Center in Red Bank will be one of three CYMCA facilities in Monmouth County taking part in a free community event, designed to inspire kids to keep their minds and bodies active.

Celebrated at nearly 1,600 Ys across the country, the national YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day® initiative aims to get more kids moving and learning, so they can keep up the habit all summer long — a critical out-of-school time for kids’ health. Research shows that without access to out-of-school physical and learning activities, kids fall behind academically. Kids also gain weight twice as fast during summer than the school year. The April 26 event will feature games, physical activities, arts and crafts, healthy snacks and more to motivate and teach families how to develop a healthy routine at home.

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Y MLKAt left, Pilgrim Baptist Pastor Terrence K. Porter (center) accepts a proclamation from Red Bank Council members Kathleen Horgan and Edward Zipprich. At right, Middletown HS South senior Aisha Boori (center) displays the Humanitarian Award presented to her during the annual YMCA Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast. Flanking her are essay contest winners Xavier Norman and Sahar Akbarzai.

A Middletown Township teen was the recipient of an annual Humanitarian Award from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, at a January 20 event that also saw a proclamation honoring the pastor of Red Bank’s Pilgrim Baptist Curch.

During the 25th annual YMCA Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast, Aisha Boori was presented with the award given each year to a Monmouth County student who “exemplifies the definition of a humanitarian and conveys the character values of the Y: caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.”

The Middletown High School South senior was recognized for her co-founding of a non-profit organization, Dreamers Without Borders, dedicated to collecting food supplies for Afghan refugees who are housed at an immigration center, as well as Tibetan refugees from a village school in India.The award was presented by First Assistant Prosecutor Marc C. LeMieux.

Pilgrim Baptist Pastor Terrence K. Porter delivered the keynote address to a crowd of approximately 300 people gathered at Branches Catering in West Long Branch.The pastor also received a proclamation from Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna and council, for his dedicated service to the Red Bank community.

Each year, teens enrolled in Monmouth County YMCA programs are invited to submit essays reflecting on Dr. King’s words, on how they can follow in his footsteps to improve the welfare of others and serve their community.This year’s essay winners were Xavier Norman, a freshman at Monmouth Regional High School, and Sahar Akbarzai, a senior at Old Bridge Regional High School. The essay winners were each rewarded with a $500 scholarship.

The annual breakfast was hosted by The Community YMCA and the YMCA of Western Monmouth County, and sponsored by Meridian Health and Sunrise Optimist Club.In addition to presenting the awards, the Ys collected non-perishable food items to support Lunch Break of Red Bank.


RBCS CMYMCAStudents at Red Bank Charter School joined The Community YMCA to kick off a new Healthy U program to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic.

Press release from The Community YMCA

On Monday, November 11, the students of  Red Bank Charter School became part of a state-wide project called Healthy U — an effort designed to teach children ages 3 -13 how to be healthy for a lifetime.

A collaborative partnership between the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey with the goal of combating childhood obesity through nutrition education, physical education and family involvement,  Healthy U uses the CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) curriculum to promote physical activity and good nutrition, while showing kids that eating healthy and being physically active every day can be fun.


rcdsNick Dawes of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is the celebrity guest auctioneer at a gala for the Rumson Country Day School’s Horizons Rumson program, scheduled for November 2 at Rumson Country Club.

Press release from Rumson Country Day School

On Saturday, November 2, Horizons Rumson will celebrate 18 years of providing local at-risk students with summer academic and recreational enrichment at the Rumson Country Day School (RCDS), thanks to the vision of RCDS Headmaster Chad Small.  Themed Small Beginnings…Broader Horizons, the Gala event, co-chaired by Maggie Riker and Lynn Spector, will honor Chad Small and his wife Susan for his leadership role in founding the program.

Held at the Rumson Country Club, the evening will feature dinner, dancing and a live auction run by celebrity auctioneer Nick Dawes, of PBS’ Antiques Roadshow.  All proceeds will benefit the Horizons Student Enrichment Program, which strives to overcome the educational achievement gap through summer educational opportunities for low-income children, primarily from Red Bank.

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ymca1-500x375A new playground will appear at The Community YMCA’s Family Health and Wellness Center on November 2, courtesy of local sponsors and a crew of community volunteers.

Press release from The Community YMCA

Children at The Community YMCA’s Family Health and Wellness Center in Red Bank will be able to enjoy a new playground this fall, designed with input from kids and built by community volunteers with generous support from the nonprofit  KaBOOM! and Good Neighbor Pharmacy.

“The Y is pleased to have been selected by KaBOOM! and Good Neighbor Pharmacy to receive a new playground,” said The Community YMCA President and CEO Rhonda Anderson. “We are dedicated to nurturing the development of children, and we know how important it is for all children to have a safe place to learn, grow and thrive.”

The new playground will be built by Y volunteers and members of the local community on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Health and Wellness Center, located at 166 Maple Avenue. Approximately 100 community volunteers will be needed at the “Community Build Day” to work alongside organizers from KaBOOM! and employees from Good Neighbor Pharmacy, said Christian Buckman of Oceanport, a member of the Y Board of Management, who is leading the playground Planning Committee.

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Singer, songwriter and Little Silver native Greg Trooper opens for Clint Black at The Y’s Goin’ Country for Kids benefit concert Saturday night at the Count Basie.


While he doesn’t usually make the short list of well-known musicians who’ve called the Jersey Shore their home, Little Silver native Greg Trooper has an uncanny knack for being on the scene wherever music happens — or is just about to happen.

The 56-year-old singer and songwriter was present and accounted for when the NYC folk clubs summoned forth a bold new crop of performers in the 1970s and ’80s. He was at large in Austin when that Texas town was tearing up the country music rulebook — and in Nashville when a next-generation Music City began to attract veteran Shorecats like John Eddie and Garry Tallent.

On Saturday, Trooper returns to Red Bank — the setting of many an after-school hangout back in the day — for a major benefit concert presented under the name Goin’ Country for Kids. A fundraiser for the Strong Kids Program at THE Community YMCA, the 8 pm show at the Count Basie Theatre finds Trooper appearing in support of country superstar Clint Black — himself a momentary son of the greater Red Bank green (and if you don’t believe us, check the NJ Wall of Fame at Murphy’s on Broad Street).

The solo acoustic set is expected to draw from his 25-year catalog of recorded work — a discography that includes 2011’s Upside Down Town, in which the darker vocal tones of the mature Trooper make a gritty but satisfying fit with a lyrical style that was always world-weary and wise beyond the composer’s years. The acclaimed songwriter’s songwriter would see his vivid vignettes interpreted by performers from Steve Earle (“Little Sister”) and Vince Gill (“We Won’t Dance”) to Lucy Kaplansky (“The Heart”) and Billy Bragg (“Everywhere”).

Working with such sought-after producers as Buddy Miller, Dan Penn and Tallent, Trooper has employed sensibly spare arrangements (spotlighting fiddles, pedal steel, accordion and some quietly intense guitar) in a way that presaged what we now call Americana — even as it avoided the potential embarrassments of Opryland fad and fashion.

redbankgreen has some Q’s and A’s with Trooper below. If you missed the Clint Black interview earlier this week, thumb it over to here.

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Rhonda Anderson on the hardwood at the Community YMCA in Red Bank this week, above, and in action as a future Cornell Hall-of-Famer, below. (Above photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)


In 1891, basketball was invented at a YMCA. This August, Rhonda Anderson, who broke 19 scoring and rebounding records in her starring role on the Cornell University women’s team in the early 1980s, will return to her game’s roots when she takes over as president and CEO of the Middletown-based Community YMCA.

It took a while for Anderson to find her niche in basketball. In fact, if her high school basketball coach hadn’t recruited her to try out based on her height, her life might have turned out much differently. She credits the game for many of the traits she says will be vital in her new position.

“To rebound effectively, you have to work to get in the position, and you have to have the desire and the effort, ” Anderson said, “and it’s the same thing in the work environment.”

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A month of elbow-to-elbow good eatin’ kicks off tonight at the Molly. (Click to enlarge)


It’s beginning to give way to Spring around the greater Green, and as our stocks of winter provisions dwindle down to the last few scraps of venison jerky and home-canned jars of okra, we emerge from our dwellings in search of our foodie fix.

Fortunately, March has traditionally sounded a call to action for local merchants of fine food and drink. This week, a go-getter group of restaurateurs around Red Bank and Rumson (as well as Middletown, Little Silver, Sea Bright and Shore points south) are roaring into gear with tonight’s return of the event known as A Taste of the Two Rivers, the continuation of Rumson Restaurant Month, and the kickoff to Red Bank Flavour Fixe.

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51-monmouthAt issue was a settlement of an earlier lawsuit over the former borough hall and police station, now home to the Children’s Cultural Center. (Click to enlarge)


hot-topic rightA state court judge has dismissed a lawsuit by two non-resident property owners who claimed that Red Bank illegally settled an earlier suit with the Community YMCA over the onetime borough hall at 51 Monmouth Street.

Superior Court Judge Patricia DelBueno Cleary granted a summary judging dismissing all claims by Cindy Burnham and attorney Bill Meyer at a hearing in Freehold late Thursday morning, Mayor Pasquale Menna tells redbankgreen.

“In essence we won,” Menna said. “It’s unfortunate the borough had to expend money to defend itself.”

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lisa-christianLisa Christian at the Red bank Y in March. (Click to enlarge)


Lisa Christian, a YMCA lifer who steered the Community YMCA to settlements of two major lawsuits and oversaw a lightning-fast interior remodeling of the Red Bank health facility, has resigned, redbankgreen has learned.

The Y confirmed that Christian had quit, but was mum on why, except to say that she left “to pursue other opportunities.”

A source tells us that Christian’s departure “wasn’t her choice.”

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