The Gateway Family YMCA Aims to Bring Out the Wow! Factor in Local Kids During 25th Annual Healthy Kids Day®

Union, NJ, March 31, 2016 –(– On Saturday, April 30, The Gateway Family YMCA is hosting a free community event to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active. This year marks the 25th annual YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day®, the Y’s national initiative to improve health and well-being for kids and families. The day-long event features activities such as games, family exercise classes, nutrition information and art activities to motivate and teach families how to develop healthy routines at home.

Healthy Kids Day at The Gateway Family YMCA takes place on April 30, 12-3pm at the Elizabeth Branch – 135 Madison Avenue, Elizabeth, Five Points Branch – 201 Tucker Avenue, Union and Rahway Branch – 1564 Irving Street, Rahway for all ages and families. The Wellness Center Branch – 1000 Galloping Hill Road, Union will host Healthy Kids Day 6-9pm with activities specifically focused on children ages 9-14. In addition to activities at the Y branches, the Wellness Center Branch will be hosting a Bicycle Education Program at the Washington School in Union 3-6pm.

YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, celebrated at over 1,300 Ys across the country by over 1.2 million participants, works to get more kids moving and learning, creating habits that they continue all summer long, which is a critical time for kids’ health. When kids are out of school, they can face hurdles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. 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. As spring turns to summer, Healthy Kids Day is a powerful reminder not to let children idle away their summer days. Instead, the Y hopes to focus on wowing them with their potential and make this their best summer ever by staying active and learning.

“The Y believes in the potential of all children, and we strive to help kids find the Wow! factor inside themselves. A child’s development is never on vacation and Healthy Kids Day is a great opportunity to educate families and motivate kids to stay active in spirit, mind and body throughout the summer,” said Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA.

In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits:

• High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development. And to keep kids’ taste buds evolving, have everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month.
• Foster an Early and Ongoing Passion for Books – Read to and with your kids. Help children read at every age and every stage of their development.
• Team Up for Athletic Events – Set a family goal of great health by teaming up for community or charity events like races, walks, fun runs, bike rides, etc.
• Volunteer Together – Find a cause that matters to the kids. Open their eyes to a world beyond themselves and the rich rewards that come from making a difference.
• Make sleep a priority – Doctors recommend 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5-12 and 7-8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, learning and other vital functions.

“The Y is a place for families to come together and participate in healthy activities. At Healthy Kids Day, we’ll encourage kids to stay physically and intellectually active all summer long, and give families tips they can easily replicate at home,” added Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO.

Healthy Kids Day takes place at The Gateway Family YMCA’s four branches in Elizabeth, Rahway and Union, featuring fun, active play and educational activities. Each branch will showcase some activities around “Zoe for President,” a metaphor for the potential the Y sees in all children. Healthy Kids Day at The Gateway Family YMCA is also supported by Jersey Family Fun, which will provide activities and giveaways at the Rahway Branch.

For more information, visit The Gateway Family YMCA at or contact the Elizabeth Branch 908-355-9622, Five Points Branch 908-688-9622, Rahway Branch 732-388-0057 or Wellness Center Branch 908-349-9622.