Ridgewood YMCA Names New Early Childhood Education Center for Youth Advocate Helen M. Marshall

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Following her tour of the nearly completed Ridgewood YMCA, the YMCA of Greater New York surprised the Queens Borough President with signage for the "Helen M. Marshall Early Childhood Education Center," recognizing a lifetime of advocacy on behalf of the youth and teens of Queens.

Y CEO Jack Lund presents Helen Marshall with model of sign for Ridgewood Y's Helen M. Marshall Early Childhood Education Center (Jerry Speier for the YMCA)

We feel that naming the Ridgewood YMCA's Early Childhood Education Center for her was just one way we could recognize her lifetime of commitment to the positive and healthy growth of Queens' kids in spirit, mind and body.

At the close of a hard hat tour of the newly reconstructed Ridgewood YMCA with Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall last week, YMCA president & CEO Jack Lund unveiled signage for the "Helen M. Marshall Early Childhood Education Center," which will occupy the lower level of the YMCA's 22,000 square-foot facility at 69-02 64th Street. An outstanding advocate for youth and teens in the borough, Marshall was surprised at the announcement that the Center would be named for her.

"I don't usually like to have things named for me, since it's the people's money and I only allocate it," said Marshall. "But thank you for this, it is really special!"

Marshall's allocation of $1 million in capital funding led a total of $2.64 million in public contributions towards the $5.7 million project. Additional public funding was provided by the, New York City Council, State Assembly Member Cathy Nolan and former State Senator Serphin Maltese. But her passion for creating youth and teen development opportunities also played an enormous role.

"Helen Marshall is a key reason the YMCA in Ridgewood will have new life, bigger and better than ever before. She has been a fantastic partner throughout this process, with a vision to bring a new YMCA to the kids and families of Ridgewood and Glendale," said Lund. "We feel that naming the Ridgewood YMCA's Early Childhood Education Center for her was just one way we could recognize her lifetime of commitment to the positive and healthy growth of Queens' kids in spirit, mind and body."

Registration is open for the Early Childhood Education Center, which will offer 3- and 4-year-old nursery school programs for two, three or five days a week, with full- or half-day options available. Like all Y programs, financial assistance is available, thanks in large part to the YMCA's annual Strong Kids Campaign. Parents interested in enrolling their child should call 718-417-3427 or visit ymcanyc.org/ridgewood.

Opening later this Fall, the Ridgewood YMCA's makeover includes the enclosing of the building's outdoor courtyard, which adds 3,000 square feet to the existing 19,000 over its three floors, and features completely modernized youth program space, computer lab and teen center, a renovated gym with a new viewing area for parents and a state-of-the-art health & wellness center, with cardiovascular fitness equipment and weight training area.

As a full Branch YMCA, the new Ridgewood YMCA will form a volunteer Board of Managers and receive a charter from YMCA of the USA as the 19th membership branch of the YMCA of Greater New York, and fifth in Queens. The YMCA is expected to serve 3,000 youth and 2,000 adults each year, a marked increase over the 800 kids and 1,000 adults served by the Catalpa Center YMCA, the building's previous incarnation as a satellite program center of the Long Island City YMCA.

About the YMCA of Greater New York:
The YMCA of Greater New York is a community service organization which promotes positive values through programs that build spirit, mind and body, welcoming all people, with a focus on youth. The largest private youth-serving organization in New York City, the YMCA of Greater New York encompasses 19 branches and 180 program sites throughout the five boroughs, plus three camps upstate, serving 350,000 New Yorkers of all ages each year, including 175,000 children in a variety of educational, social, health and wellness, as well as recreational and child development programs, each of which reinforce the YMCA values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Supported in part through contributions to the Strong Kids Campaign, the YMCA provides membership assistance and scholarships, so that no one is turned away due to an inability to pay. Visit ymcanyc.org to learn more.

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Kevin Shermach
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