Youth Volunteer Ayonna Chambers Honored by The Gateway Family YMCA

UNION COUNTY, NJ – The Gateway Family YMCA honored Ayonna Chambers, a dedicated YMCA Volunteer, as 2018 Youth Volunteer of the Year, at the 2018 New Jersey YMCA State Alliance 18th Annual Recognition Celebration on October 15th at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, NJ.

“Volunteers are at the heart of the YMCA, providing positive impact to the program participants and members in our branches every day,” stated Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “We are fortunate to have the ability to foster a sense of volunteerism for youth in the communities we serve.”

Ayonna, a student attending Union High School, has been an active member and volunteer at the Five Points Branch in Union, NJ for many years. She has dedicated over 100 hours to volunteering and making a difference in the lives of the youth program participants at the YMCA. Ayonna first joined the YMCA with her family and participated in the After School Program in elementary school.

“Ayonna volunteered with our gymnastics program for 2 years and has recently transitioned to the branch staff team. It has been wonderful to watch Ayonna grow through the Y, first as a child participant and now to a young woman giving back,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO. Jodi Pelano, Branch Executive Director added, “Ayonna is extremely patient, caring and gentle with our youngest gymnasts, ages 3-5. She has a bright future to look forward to and we are happy to have her at the YMCA.”

The New Jersey YMCA State Alliance hosts the Recognition Event annually to highlight YMCA initiatives and recognize those who have shown leadership and support for New Jersey YMCAs in one of three focus areas: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. Honorees in 2018 included John McManus and Gloria Ron-Fornes. Ayonna was joined by other Youth Volunteers honored from YMCAs across the state for their dedication to improving the lives of others and their impact in the community.

The Gateway Family YMCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization of caring staff and volunteers dedicated to strengthening the foundations of community and stands For Youth Development, For Healthy Living and For Social Responsibility. The Y impacts the community by providing quality services to people of all ages, races, faiths or incomes. The Y is a powerful association of men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life joined together by a shared passion: to strengthen the foundations of community.

For more information about The Gateway Family YMCA, visit To learn more about volunteer opportunities, please contact the Five Points Branch 908-688-9622, Elizabeth Branch 908-355-9622, Rahway Branch 908-388-0057, Wellness Center Branch 908-349-9622 or WISE Center YMCA Branch 908-687-2995.

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