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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

[Recreated Post] Plainfielders invited to honor YWCA's 105 years of service to community

Taking its exercise program to the street is a form of
'guerilla marketing' that helps gets the word out.

[NOTE: This is a recreation on 7/18/2012 of the original post of 7/13/2012, which gremlins somehow ate.-- Dan] Plainfielders are invited to honor the YWCA's 105 years of service to community by becoming involved through membership, becoming a donor/supporter, taking advantage of a useful program, or all three.

Old-line organizations such as the YWCA and its sibling the YMCA have found it challenging to maintain the physical facilities they have inherited from past glory days and at the same time to provide relevant programming for new membership populations in the face of commercial competitors who have cherry-picked the traditional income and program mainstays.

The mobility brought about by automobiles since World War II has led many to seek newer, grander facilities that are far away from downtown locations with their parking hassles and other issues. Commercial gyms have made it difficult for YWCA and YMCA fitness programs to compete, whether on equipment, hours or cost -- thus undercutting the traditional mainstays of not just programming, but organizational stability.

For it was from the ranks of those deeply involved in the organization's programs that Board members were drawn, giving both fundraising clout and endowment potential.

Though the changes and the time have been hard, tough and scrappy organizations like both Plainfield's YWCA and YMCA have countered by reorganizing themselves, refreshing their board structures, re-imagining their target audiences, re-inventing their programs and reaching out to the community in new and exciting ways.

Plainfield's YWCA came closer to closing, with a very bleak future by 2008 amid threatening foreclosure by its lenders.

TWIN Program honorees.
A reorganization under the leadership of the Rev. Gary Kirkwood of Kings Temple Ministries has brought the 105-year-old organization back from the precipice.

Revitalizing old programs such as fitness and childcare have greatly broadened both the membership and program clientele. The famed TWIN (Tribute to Women in Industry) program is being expanded with a mentoring component, a computer lab and a grant to provide ESL services. And entirely new services are being offered, such as the opening of the Terrace Room Cafe (Monday through Friday, 8 AM - 7 PM) and special discounts for veterans.

You can read full details of these and other exciting developments in an anniversary appeal issued by executive director Kirkwood on the YWCA's blog (see here).

I plan to visit the YWCA soon and get a tour of some of the physical improvements as well as its innovative programs and will write the visit up. In the meantime, I hope you will join me in supporting this vital organization as it continues to serve the children and families of the Plainfield area into its second century.

A $105 contribution -- or any amount you can afford -- will be greatly appreciated and will help sustain this great organization. Contributions may be may payable to the YWCA of Central NJ and mailed to 232 East Front Street, Plainfield, NJ 07060.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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