Explaining the 'Why' of YMCA

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Dear Mayor Dwyer,

My name is Jason Kaplan and I have lived in Monroe for the past 23 years. I am writing you to express how the Y has made a positive impact on my life.

Among other medical issues, in 2010 I became an amputee due to complications with diabetes. Since then I have been fighting tooth and nail to regain a reasonable quality of life.

From 2010-2016 I was in a wheelchair for more than four years.

Once I was cleared to start physical activity, I was advised to swim. The only pool I heard of that offered classes and laps was the YMCA of Middletown.

These workouts made a tremendous difference with my ability to stand for longer periods and start walking again. My doctors would complement my progress at every follow up visit.

In 2016 I had bariatric surgery and lost over 130 lbs. I began working out at the South Orange Family YMCA at least four to five days per week. It was much more than a physical transformation.

Once again, my doctors would consistently complement both my positive outlook and physical progress. I was also told by four doctors that the changes I made saved my life.

To me, the “Why” of YMCA are the people who work here and its members. I am always greeted with a smiling face and never felt uncomfortable exercising with my disabilities. If anything, staff and members go above and beyond to make sure I was OK.

I felt so at home here, I joined the staff this past year. I have been on SSDI (permanent Disability) since 2015. After being cleared to work part time, I needed to be in a healthy and fun environment. It has been an amazing place to work.

It truly is humbling how much this family has gone out of their way to accommodate my special needs. It’s not just a few people, it’s everyone.

We can only hope that you and your team will do the right thing and help this place grow.


Jason Kaplan


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