Youth Development Branch Expansion

STEM | The Gateway Family YMCA

Construction Underway in Elizabeth

“At the Y, we are committed to empowering young people to reach their full potential.”

The Gateway Family YMCA Expands Youth Development Branch

Youth Development Branch Construction Plans are Underway for Child Development Center Expansion

The Gateway Family YMCA has announced construction plans for the expansion of the Youth Development Branch YMCA, located at 16-20 Jefferson Avenue in Elizabeth, NJ. The construction, which began in late 2019 is slated to be completed in early 2020 and includes two additional infant and preschool child care classroom spaces, a functional learning center and expanded space for youth development and community programming.

“We are excited to be able to expand our Youth Development Branch and provide additional services to infants, children and families in Elizabeth,” stated Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “At the Y, we are committed to empowering young people to reach their full potential. I believe there is no better way to achieve our mission than to begin with a dedicated focus on the youngest members of our community. We do this every day within our Child Development Centers in Elizabeth and Union, as well as our infant and youth programming at all branches.”

The construction project for the branch expansion has not hampered existing infant and preschool child care programs within the Child Development Center, which serves hundreds of infants and children each year, as the focus has been on providing additional space within the Youth Development Branch. Construction of two additional infant classrooms on the first floor is under way, as well as the addition of the learning center, multi-purpose space and office areas.

Included within the expansion plan is construction of a dedicated learning center comprised of indoor space designed to bring the outside community into the curriculum of the Child Development Center. Each room has a theme and will allow children to learn from areas such as the Library, Veterinarian/Doctor Office, Healthy Market, Little Chef’s Diner/Baker, Construction Zone, Special Delivery, Community Helpers Station, Express Yourself Art Studio, Science Laboratory, Music Room, Explore Nature Room and the Imagination Zone. Not only will children be able to experience the outside world, but they can learn from the experience as both an employee and a customer.

“Children are like sponges. They watch and absorb knowledge, skills, and values from everything and everyone around them,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO, “At The Gateway Family YMCA, we believe the values and skills learned early on are vital building blocks for quality of life and future success.”

The Gateway Family YMCA has served the local community for over 119 years. Through six branches in Elizabeth, Rahway and Union, the Y serves Eastern Union County and Northern Middlesex County. “We are committed to nurturing the potential of every child and teen, supporting their social-emotional, cognitive and physical development,” stated Lisa Yanez, Senior Director of Child Development, Youth Development Branch. “That’s why at the YMCA Child Development Center we provide care for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years in a safe, nurturing, educational and enriching environment. Our research-based curriculum is implemented in all of our classrooms and extends to the Y’s core values: Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility.”

The Gateway Family YMCA is a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community by connecting all people to their potential, purpose and each other. With a focus on empowering young people, improving health and well-being, and inspiring action in and across the local community, the Y brings together people from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations, to ensure that all have access to the opportunities, relationships and resources necessary to learn, grow and thrive. The Y doesn’t just strengthen bodies – it strengthens people, families and communities. The Y. ™ For a better us.™

For more information about The Gateway Family YMCA, visit or contact the Youth Development Branch 908-355-3061.

The Gateway Family YMCA