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YMCA Dedicates New Services for 'Young at Heart'

Commons room part of expanded offerings for active seniors

Local seniors now have a new place to put their feet up, socialize, work or just have fun with the dedication of the Commons at the Wyckoff Family YMCA.

The Y celebrated the new facility, which features plush furniture, billiards, chess, computers and television, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday.

Kristine Pepper, the public relations director for the Y, said the Commons serves and reflects a more accurate depiction of active seniors and not the tired stereotype of the aged playing Bingo and waiting for a visit from a relative.

"We are using a new term to designate the older population because they really are young at heart," Pepper said. "They have so much in life to enjoy." 

The Active Older Adults program is led by director Jennifer Sauer, who said the Commons' offerings are in keeping with the philosophy of the YMCA.

"We have so much more for the people in our program," Sauer said. "We will have social events, education and enrichment workshops and fitness programs." 

Sauer said the Y already has scheduled programs for the Commons such as bridge; computer tutoring; a current events discussion forum; a group dedicated to games; knitting programs; leisure times; the "lunch and learn" initiative;movie of the week; book club and craft programs.  

The Commons also boasts movie posters from seniors' youth, such as "The Wizard of Oz," "Casablanca," "Kiss Me, Kate" and "It's a Wonderful Life." The floor is balanced with a multi-colored checkered rug.  

"I wanted the room to stand out and have a cheerful feeling," said Julie Zier, a Wyckoff-based interior designer.  

Zier, who has been a volunteer for the YMCA, said she was glad to donate her time to the project. 

"It has turned out to be very lovely," she said. 

YMCA executive director Joy Vottero agreed with Zier. She said the Commons is just the latest way the Y is meeting the needs of its many patrons.

"While we reach out to the community, we serve over 35 towns," Vottero said.  "I guess that makes us the place to be."  

Rose Fernandez, a Wyckoff resident and former trustee, had recently suffered an injury but insisted on showing up to the opening of the Commons.  

"This room is so typical of the Y," Fernandez said. "They reach out to everyone. This is a place people find as giving and protective."  

Sauer said the feeling of family is mutual.

"I come in here, and it is like greeting a hundred of my own grandparents," she said. "I am just so thrilled about this, and I believe this will show we have an amazing future ahead of us in this program."

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