Mother and son pick some dill.

Mother and son pick some dill.

Our Community Garden has already produced healthy options for our families. Last week our women and children were able to harvest spinach, dill and basil.

Resident from housing harvest spinach

Resident from housing harvest spinach

On Sunday the families shared their harvest with the 15 families that live in Madison House, a supportive housing program for women and children. A healthy spinach salad was prepared for all to share.


Preparing fresh spinach and dill from our garden.

Preparing fresh spinach and dill from our garden.

This looks good and healthy!

This looks good and healthy!

Taste good too!

Taste good too!

Thanks to the staff from Groundwork Elizabeth, YMCA Staff and YMCA families for their participation and support for healthy living in Elizabeth!

This is just the beginning the garden is growing and there will be more healthy food to share.



Survey Says…Snack Smarter


Hey Smart Snackers,

It’s important to the East Orange YMCA that we change behaviors so communities can live healthier, but in order to do that, we need to know where to start.  Our children are our future and our treasure, so with the permission of their parents, we surveyed some of our After School students.  The survey, results and our next steps are below:

Number of students surveyed: 86


  • Are you hungry when you get off the bus after school?   Yes (74)     No (12)
  • When you are hungry, what do you feel like doing?   No response (2)     Watch TV (35)     Sleep (24)     Be Active (30)
  • Name five fruits and what is your favorite?     While the majority of children could name 5 fruits, most answers were grapes, apples, oranges and bananas.  We will use this information towards a plan to introduce diverse fruits to the children.  This will be a part of the “experiential nutrition learning” component funded by the grant and supported by the volunteer nutritional speakers.
  • Name five vegetables and what is your favorite?  While the majority of the children could name 5 vegetables, most answers were the common corn, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and string beans.  Less green vegetables were noted.  We will use this information to create a plan as we will do with the fruits.  There is an opportunity to offer veggies as a snack option for the children.  This will be a part of the “experiential nutrition learning” component as well.
  • How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat every day?     0-3 (43)     4-6 (16)     7-10 (9)     more than 10 (6)     no response (14).  This is an excellent learning opportunity to teach the children the importance of nutritional information and knowing the difference and importance of understanding things, such as caloric and sodium intake, servings and serving sizes, total fat and carbohydrates and ingredient listings.

As we continue to explore varied tactics to increase our children’s nutritional awareness, we hope to continue to collaborate with their parents, community and partners so all can have the necessary tools and eagerness to live healthier.

The Horizon Foundation Blue Cross Blue Shield’s “Healthy U” initiative to help prevent childhood obesity is just one way we incorporate healthy living into our After School and Preschool Programs.

Here’s to a better you, too!

East Orange YMCA

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East Orange Historic H.I.K.E. Sites Selected (Preview)


The selection committee has chosen the historic sites for the trail, permanent signs for each site are being ordered and the H.I.K.E. t-shirts are being designed for the big launch day.  We’re very excited to see this project come together with the help of our partners.

As a preview of what’s to come, we want to share the first, and possibly most obvious, historic site, which is (drum roll please)….

City Of East Orange

The summer is here and we are ready to have everyone living “A Healthier U” through H.I.K.E. – Healthy Initiative to Keep Exercising!

The Y is committed to strengthening community through youth development, HEALTHY LIVING and social responsibility.

Happy trails…

East Orange YMCA 

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East Orange H.I.K.E. – Vote For Your Top 10 Historic Sites



But, first, our ShapingNJ project leaders need to decide on possible historic locations.  Our own East Orange, NJ historian, Mrs. Goldie T. Burbage, supplied us with the following potential list of sites for the walking trail (vote for your top 10 and comment below):

  1. Soverel Field and Soverel Field House
  2. Puder Hall on Upsala College Campus (current site of Campus High School)
  3. Franklin Library (current site of Jersey Explorers Children’s Museum)
  4. Central Brick Presbyterian Church
  5. East Orange City Hall
  6. Temple Sharey Tefilo
  7. Salvation Army
  8. Our Lady Help of Christians Church
  9. Christ Anglican Episcopal Church
  10. Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts
  11. Ambrose-Ward Mansion (formerly Knapp Funeral Home)
  12. Suburban Hotel
  13. East Orange Courthouse (formerly East Orange Library donated by Carnegie Foundation)
  14. Munn Avenue Presbyterian Church
  15. Hollywood Theatre
  16. East Orange Veterans Hospital
  17. Elmwood Park (designed by Olmstead)
  18. Elmwood Presbyterian Church
  19. Kress Art Deco Building (Central Avenue)
  20. East Orange General Hospital
  21. Blue and White Medical Building (Central Avenue – designed and built by African-American Professionals)
  22. Fellowship Civic Center
  23. Kuzuri Kijiji Housing Complex (designed and built by African-American Professionals)
  24. East Orange Hotel (currently Harmony Grove Nursing Home)
  25. Church at the Crossroads
  26. Oval Park
  27. East Orange National Guard Armory (currently the Islamic Center of America in East Orange)
  28. Reid Temple (formerly Christian Science Building)
  29. George Washington Carver School (formerly Columbian School)
  30. Ampere Library
  31. 345 North Arlington Avenue House (built in 1787)
  32. Former Ward Bakery Building
  33. Concord Towers (first senior citizen building)
  34. J. Garfield Jackson, Sr. Academy School
  35. Clark School (started in 1910)

All for you,

East Orange YMCA

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Community Lifts Voices For Healthy Living Choices


At the Y, we work with community leaders to make the healthy choice the easy choice in all of the places where people live, work, learn and play.  Thanks to ShapingNJ, the East Orange YMCA is pursing strategies to improve healthy eating and active living, thanks in part to these wonderful businesses and community leaders:

Shared Mindset.  Shared Responsibility.

Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges – Larry Lev, Ernest S. Bryant, Jessica Rademaker, Angela Johnson, Elizabeth Youngstein, Lisa Kelly, Sharon Malone

City of East Orange – Donna Littlejohn, Karen LaRussa, Valerie Jackson, Norma Mackey

East Orange School District – Beverly Macon, Mary Fayton

East Orange Education Foundation – Goldie Burbage

East Orange Public Library – Pamela Holmes

East Orange General Hospital – Leslie Eaddy

Prodigal Sons and Daughters Redirection Services – Wanda Upshaw

East Orange Clergy Association – Father Joseph Harmon, Reverend Leonard Santucci

East Orange Historical Society

Read our other ShapingNJ posts to find out how we’re changing behaviors for healthy living.

All for you,

East Orange YMCA

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