The Gateway Family YMCA celebrates Arts Programming Collaboration

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UNION COUNTY, NJ — The Gateway Family YMCA, together with Rutgers University’s Future Scholars Program, celebrated arts and engagement activities at The Gateway Family YMCA – Rahway Branch, 1564 Irving St., Rahway.

The collaboration provided students with a Move and Paint program, consisting of guided painting classes, lessons in art design including all supplies and Zumba dance sessions for students and their families, to bring together cultural and social support in a fun learning environment.

“Being the first in your family to attempt anything is hard, and being the first to attempt to go to college is even harder. The arts are a great way to help deal with all the stresses that come from being an aspiring first generation college student. They can help express emotions and connect with others in a way that’s much harder without them,” said Melynda A. Disla, president/CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “We are happy to partner with organizations who share this commitment and celebrate arts and culture in our diverse communities.”

First generation college students often don’t have the financial support or family experience in academia needed to easily navigate the college experience. This combination creates stress for both the student and their family – the student feels isolated, the family feels helpless and tensions increase all around. Social and cultural events for both college students and their families are a way to combat this. Rutgers University’s Future Scholars Program together with The Gateway Family YMCA supports academically promising high school students from low-income households through this unique arts collaboration.

This program is made possible in part by a 2024 HEART – History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands – Grant from the Union County Board of County Commissioners.

For more information on The Gateway Family YMCA, visit or contact The Gateway Family YMCA – Rahway Branch at 732-388-0057 or [email protected].

Photos Courtesy of Colleen Clayton