Did you know that the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge and South Amboy (MEWSA) is the leading child care provider in Middlesex County? Across its 11 child care center locations in the county, the YMCA serves up to 1,000 children a day.
And that number is going to keep growing, vows President and CEO Rose Cushing, adding that the YMCA of MEWSA will be opening a new facility in Piscataway in the spring.
“Child care is a major part of what we do and I feel that whenever people think of a YMCA, they think of just a gym and pool facility. We are much more than that,” she said.
Cushing, who has been president since 2016, started out working at one of YMCA’s child care centers almost 30 years ago. Now, she heads the entire organization but admitted that her heart will always be with the children.
“The Y is one of the best-kept secrets, especially the many programs that are offered at our buildings,” said Cushing, highlighting a new free program called “Healthy Weight & Your Child,” an evidence-based program for children carrying excess weight.
The YMCA of MEWSA has more than 20,000 members; that number will inevitably grow with the addition of the Piscataway facility.
Its facilities also employ more than 500 people from Middlesex County and continuously give back to the community, especially during the holiday season.
This past year alone, the YMCA of MEWSA awarded $600,000 in scholarships to local students.
For the holidays, each child care center picks a charity in which to help fund. Currently, the Metuchen branch is collecting items for Toys for Tots and the Edison branch is holding a canned food drive.
“The thing that drives me the most is my passion to improve the community I’m in and the YMCA is a huge part of that,” said Cushing.
Along with its child care centers, the YMCA offers a wide variety of adult and teen classes such as swim, music, dance and health and wellness.
Cushing mentioned that the YMCA’s membership with the Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce helps the organization connect with the community and allows its members to expand their networks.
“The chamber is truly an outlet for like-minded people who want to better the community,” she added. “The chamber brings together so many different people from the county, which allows its members to hear differing perspectives on issues.”