Brother International Named West Essex YMCA Program Champion

By: News and blog | Monday, June 24, 2019 | Social Responsibility

Gabriela Vieira (left), who serves on the West Essex YMCA Board of Managers, persuaded Brother International to become a Program Champion.YMCA Executive Director Helen Flores (right) was grateful.

When Gabriela Vieira joined the West Essex YMCA’s Board of Managers, she saw great possibilities for how her employer, Brother International Corporation, could flex its philanthropy.

“Brother International likes to be involved in efforts that help children and the environment,” she said. Vieira is a credit manager at the multinational manufacturer, which makes printers, labeling machines, sewing machines and other products for homes and offices.

The Livingston resident saw the YMCA’s La Vida Deliciosa as a perfect fit for the company’s philosophy for charitable giving. It’s a nutrition and fitness program for Hispanic families with low incomes in West Orange. 

Vieira pitched her suggestion to Brother’s Social Responsibility Committee, describing the extensive outreach the YMCA performs. “People often don’t realize how much the YMCA does for the community,” Vieira said.

Brother embraced her project and has signed on as a West Essex YMCA Program Champion. The corporation donated $6,000 to La Vida Deliciosa and agreed to fund $6,000 in needs-based scholarships for YMCA childcare. Brother also contributed more than $6,200 in equipment, including printers, P-touch label makers, and sewing machines. 

Program Champions like Brother International provide program stability and allow us to extend our reach in the community,” West Essex YMCA Executive Director Helen Flores said.

“We are so grateful to Brother International and to Gabriela, for championing our work and producing multiple aspects of impact,” added Lisa Kelly, chief development officer for the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. The West Essex YMCA is one of seven Metro YMCA branches.

Vieira’s entire family is active in the Livingston community. Her husband, Michael, is a councilman, and both their children work in the West Essex YMCA’s after-school program.

The West Essex YMCA created La Vida Deliciosa 2012. The program serves about 25 families during each 12-week session. (Two or three sessions are held annually.) Families gather at Washington Elementary School in West Orange for two hours each week. Parents learn about health topics such as diabetes prevention and managing cholesterol, and then take a group exercise class, while children go to the gym with instructors who teach them about exercise and lead active games, Flores said. Afterward, everyone regroups to enjoy a healthy snack.

La Vida Deliciosa participants also get to grow vegetables at the community garden at Edison Middle School. The garden was created by the West Orange Wellness Web, a coalition that includes representatives from the West Orange government, the township’s school district, Saint Barnabas Medical Center, area residents, and the YMCA.

For more information about becoming a Program Champion, the YMCA invites community members to contact Kelly at lkelly@metroymcas.org or 973-758-9622.

 

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