NMYMCA Annual Meeting: REACHING OUR POTENTIAL. One Building Block at a Time...

Michele Rulnick, President and CEO, welcomed a group of more than 120 to the 132nd Annual Meeting of the Northern Middlesex YMCA on May 28, 2019 at the Elks Club in Middletown, CT.


Michele Rulnick shared the Presentation of the 2018 Annual Report with the following remarks, "Our theme this evening is Reaching Our Full Potential. I am going to start with a quote by Jim Rohn. "The big challenge is to become all that you have the possibility to becoming. You cannot believe what it does to the human spirit to maximize your human potential and stretch yourself to the limit." -Jim Rohn

Full potential is open-ended growth from birth until death. My experiences at the Y have reinforced the incredible capacity of human beings to achieve and amaze!" read more........

"The Y strengthens individuals, families and community. It is what we do. The WE represents a dedicated group of talented Y employees (that includes countless talented people not mentioned in this report), a committed and engaged Board of Directors, volunteers and generous donors. This is the secret sauce for non-profit success – it takes an army of people who give generously of time, talent and treasure to serve the collective good. Thank you all for being an ingredient in our secret sauce, a building block that helps people reach their full potential!" - Michele Rulnick


Volunteer ambassadors who help spread the philanthropic message of the YMCA to the community are essential to help the Y achieve so much more. Throughout Middletown and Northern Middlesex County, countless people know the YMCA. But there's so much more to our Y than one might think. From exercise to education, from preschool to preventive health, the Y doesn't just strengthen our bodies. It strengthens our community. The Y is so much more than a gym. It's a cause, dedicated to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. - Northern Middlesex YMCA Comprehensive Case for Support

Business Partners help to ensure that every child, family and adult in our community has access to early learning opportunities, support for families living with cancer, after school and summer enrichment programs, summer day camp, housing, healthy living and youth development. • The Y is dedicated to strengthening our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Our impact begins at birth and continues through old age. The Y offers a path to a fuller, more productive life. Each year the Y provides over $350,000 in direct subsidies to more than 3,200 people - our charitable work extends even further through grants and partnerships. The Y is for everyone; no child, family or adult is turned away because of inability to pay. Learn more about BUSINESS PARTNER OPPORTUNITIES

REACHING OUR POTENTIAL video highlights from 2018

For a Better Us - Community Impact Awards

The Northern Middlesex YMCA Comprehensive Case for Support states the following, "Many of our teen members struggle with food insecurity. Currently, between 25-30 area teens come to the Y daily after school and often stay until the Y closes. End Hunger Connecticut! reports that 1 in 5 children in Connecticut are affected by food insecurity. In Middletown, 47% of students are eligible for free/reduced meals and 49% participate in the school breakfast program." When YMCA Member, Joanne Brainard heard about this reality, she took immediate action to become a part of the solution. Joanne delivers boxes of snacks and food to the YMCA each week for Y staff to distribute to the teens and also to add to the food pantry created to support the residents of the YMCA Men's Residence.


Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County. Its mission is to work with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments and other charitable funds and to support local non-profit organizations through effective grant making to address community needs. since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has provided 2, 397 grants totaling more than $6.7 million to nonprofit organizations for the arts; cultural and heritage programs; educational activities; environment improvements; and for health and human services.

Eversource Sponsored LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, a program through the LIVESTRONG Foundation nonprofit that provides support for people diagnosed with cancer. The 12-week program helps adult cancer survivors to reclaim their health and well-being during and following cancer treatments. Thanks to donations, the program is free for a dozen members. Eversource sponsored the Middlesex YMCA's third LIVESTRONG session that started in May for a new group of determined participants. For more information about the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Program, visit www.midymca.org/livestrong-at-the-y Eversource also makes a major impact every year by sending out a team of volunteers with heavy duty equipment to help prepare the Ingersoll Outdoor Center for the upcoming Summer Camp Sessions. With only 3 full time year round staff to manage the 77 acre outdoor center facility and run programming to more than 4,000 area youth, the work completed by Eversource is essential support needed by the YMCA Community. To learn more about how you can help support YMCA Camp Ingersoll, visit: Friends of Ingersoll Fund Page


Building a Better US-YMCA Impact Award: Kitch Czernicki

Kitch Czernicki was nominated by two fellow staff members for her outstanding work in impacting HEALTHY LIVING programming as a water exercise instructor at the YMCA. Her enthusiastic and contagious positive energy has made a powerful and life changing impact in the lives of dozens of participants in her classes. Her extensive fitness knowledge and her dedication to supporting everyone who comes in contact with her at the YMCA is just one of the many reasons her co-workers, Cindy Sullivan and Heather Chandor nominated her for the Building a Better US Impact Award.

Building a Better US-YMCA Impact Award: Dan White

Assistant Director of School Age Childcare, Ceara LaDue recognized Dan White for his outstanding Youth Development Work within the Kids Korner and YMCA Camp Ingersoll Programs. "We had a wonderful evening at our Annual Meeting. Woodside Site Director, Mr. White, was presented with the "Building A Better Us - Impact Award" for his years of service. Mr. White will be retiring at the end of this school year after 42 years of working with our youth. He has made a huge impact on all the children he has worked with. We will miss him tremendously but wish him a long and happy retirement! And thank you to all of our Kids' Korner sites that have worked so hard the last few weeks working on the "building blocks" for the meeting! They looked amazing and everyone loved to see how our children are reaching their potential!"

-Ceara LaDue


"Kids Korner Before and After School Programs provide much needed childcare services to working families of school age children in 12 elementary schools. Visit a KK program and you will see children from diverse backgrounds participating in enrichment, STEAM, and physical activity all while developing social competency. You will hear adults leading literacy activities thanks to a Kidzlit Grant from Liberty Bank Foundation and you will not be able to differentiate a child whose family receives financial support through our open doors program funded by the Middlesex United Way the Peach Pit Foundation and our generous Y donors.

In 2018 KK received a grant from the YUSA to expand work with CDLI. CDLI stands for Character Development Learning Institute. The mission is to advance effective youth character development practice among adult providers so that more youth cultivate the character skills and traits necessary to reach their full potential. The KK team led by Melanie Carfora, Ceara Ladue, Justin Tokarz has embraced this mission and exemplified integrating adult learning with youth engagement, earning the prestigious designation as a CDLI HUB Site. As Y youth professionals grow and develop so do the young people in their care! Our Y CDLI team (Melanie Carfora, Ceara Ladue, and Chaelyn Lombardo) are now teaching other Y’s how to excel in this work and help children build empathy, emotional management, responsibility, personal development and meaningful relationships." - Michele Rulnick

"In the world of aquatics the Y continues to be the leader in teaching water safety and inspiring the next great Olympic swimmers. The new YUSA swim instruction curriculum focuses on teaching children water safety first and then progressing to stroke development. Nick Dionne and Carla Mackay fully committed to the new curriculum and provided a seamless transition. Do you know that in 2018, 2077 people drowned in the US? Drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-5 yrs of age and the 2nd leading cause of death for children 1-14. 80% of victims are male and African American & Hispanics are 3 times more likely to drown. Teaching children and adults to swim saves lives and for some it becomes a lifelong sport and passion. Many young people transition from lessons to joining the Y’s Barracuda swim team. Swim coaches Heather Chandor and Nick Dione not only prepare youth to be competitive swimmers, but they teach personal goal setting, reinforce that strong work ethic and commitment pays off and celebrate the attributes of a great teammate – all building blocks of leadership and life success." - Michele Rulnick

Dedication of Shadow Box in Memory of Sensai LaPila

Louis A. LaPila, 75, of Middletown, husband of Eleanor (Milardo) LaPila, passed on to be with the Lord on Friday July 27, 2018 at his home surrounded by his family.

He was born in Middletown, the son of the late Wesley and Rose (Marino) LaPila. Prior to his retirement, Lou was an engineer with Pratt and Whitney Aircraft for 30 years. He was a well-known Sensei in Judo as a Rokudan (6th degree Black belt) heading up the Middletown Judo Club for 57 years. Louie started judo training in 1961 with the at the inception of the Middletown Judo Club. He became president of the Judo Club in 1967 and in 1969 was awarded his Shodan Rank (First Degree Black Belt). He became Sensei of the club in 1973 and held that position until his passing. He won numerous tournaments including the New England YMCA Middleweight Championship, a gold medal at the AAU Olympic Development Program and silver medal at the Connecticut Championship Tournament. He is listed in the Who Is Who in Martial Arts, and in 1996, he was inducted into the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame as a Sixth Degree Black Belt in Judo and a Fifth Degree Black Belt in Jujitsu. He is a registered Black Belt in the United States Judo Association, United States Judo International, Kodokan Judo in Japan and Korean Yudo College in Korea. In 2006, Louie was also inducted into the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame.

During his 50 years of teaching judo, Louie has touched thousands of lives of students – both adults and children alike. His goal was to make the Club like a family and did his best to run it that way. According to one of his mottos, he wasn't there to show how good he was, but how good they could be. He cared for all his students, providing guidance for character and good morals, as well as his love for Judo. Learn more about Middletown Judo

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