Choose your preferred language
Your Gift Supports Less Fortunate Children
Your Gift Fights Childhood Obesity
Your Gift Redefines Retirement
SOMERSET COUNTY & PLAINFIELD YMCA - HomeFor Youth Development; For Healthly Living; For Social Responsibility
Programs_Darkness to Light
Keep every child safe


At the Y, the safety of the children and families in our care is always our top priority, whether at camp, in child care and after school programs, or in any one of our branches.

Throughout the course of a year, Somerset County YMCA employs nearly 1,000 qualified and talented full and part-time staff. Each person is carefully screened and a thorough background check is completed. All Y staff are trained in the identification and prevention of child abuse.

Additionally, Somerset County YMCA integrates a commitment to child safety in its program offerings to the Y community. This includes child abuse prevention, water safety, and youth mental health first aid — all designed to help each and every child fulfill their potential.

Somerset County YMCA

Child Abuse Prevention

  • 1 in 10 children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
  • In 90% of cases, the child knows and trusts the abuser.
  • 1 in 5 children are sexually assaulted while on the Internet.
  • Survivors of child sexual abuse have a higher likelihood of psychological disorders, excessive drug and alcohol use, eating disorders, suicidal tendencies, and violence.

Through Darkness to Light the Y had committed to bringing an online Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention training to our communities. The training is designed to educate adults on how to recognize, prevent, and react responsibly to the reality of child sexual abuse, emphasizing child safety is every adult’s responsibility. Click the button below to learn more about this important training.



Child Water Safety

71% of the World is Water. Children Are 100% Curious.

Knowing how to swim is not a luxury; it is a necessity. The YMCA’s free Safety Around Water swim program can help you make sure your children learn essential water safety skills, which can open up a world of possibilities for them to satisfy their curiosity safely.

  • 4-week swim program, Fridays, May 5, 12, 19 & 26
  • 30-minute class, once per week
  • Ages 3-5 years and 6-10 years
  • Free program for non-swimmers who have not participated in any Y swimming programs

For information, contact the Aquatics Director at your branch.


This free 4-week water safety course (every Friday in May), taught by a certified instructor, teaches children two sets of skills that will reduce the risk of drowning and give them confidence in and around water. A typical session includes:

  • Exercises to help children adjust to being in water
  • Instruction in “Jump, Push, Turn, Grab” and “Swim, Float, Swim,” two skill sets children can use if they unexpectedly find themselves in the water
  • An activity that teaches children about specific safety topics such as pool rules and boating safety
  • A fun game to encourage comfort and activity around water

Each swim lesson includes a handout for parents and caregivers with additional water safety tips for kids.


Drowning can happen nearly anywhere with standing water. But, as a parent or caregiver, you can’t keep your children sidelined. You need to equip them with the tools they need to be confident in and around water so they don’t lose out on the health benefits of exercise, the opportunities to bond with family and friends and the sense of accomplishment when they learn new skills.


Safety Around Water is free to participants. It is open to anyone in the community who wants their children to learn how to be safe in and around water.

Youth Mental Health First Aid


Reducing the stigma associated with Mental Health isn’t easy, but we are committed to making strides. In collaboration with other local organizations, the Y has taken a leadership position to offer ongoing, sustained education to the community in hopes of reducing the stigma of mental health, building awareness, and connecting people to the appropriate mental health care providers.

MHFA is an evidence-based, public education program certification course that helps participants recognize, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.


This interactive 8-hour course presents the risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges common among adolescents, including anxiety, depression, substance use and suicide. Participants learn a core five-step action plan to support an adolescent developing signs and symptoms of mental illness or in an emotional crisis. The course is designed for adults who regularly interact with adolescents, but may also be appropriate for mature teenagers (16 and older). Anyone who regularly works or interacts with youth at home, at work or in the community will benefit from becoming a certified Mental Health First Aider.

Somerset Hills YMCA contact:

Lynne Applebaum -  908 766 7898, 522 or via webmail

Somerville YMCA contact:

Kate Russo -  908 722 4567 or via webmail


Blog Posts

  • Happy Swimmers

    Water Safety: 5 Tips for Staying Safe at the Pool and Beach this Summer

    by Samantha Trujillo, Associate Aquatics Director, Bridgewater YMCA and Somerville YMCA | May 13, 2019
    Summer's almost here! Follow these five important tips to keep your family safe at the pool and beach this season.
    Read More
  • wsm_blog

    How the Y Keeps Your Kids Safe in the Water

    by Valerie Deraville, Aquatics Director, Bridgewater YMCA | Somerville YMCA | May 25, 2017
    Summer is the time of year when water activities and swimming are on everyone’s list of things to do. May is also Water Safety Month and we’d like to share some valuable information with you before you make those plans – it will help keep your kids safe while you are building fond memories with family and friends.
    Read More
  • Every Kids Matters

    Every Kid Matters

    by Cristina E. Williams, Director of Digital Media, Somerset County YMCA | Apr 27, 2017
    April is National Child Abuse Prevention month and in partnership with YMCA of the USA, Somerset County YMCA is joining Ys across the country in taking Five Days of Action from April 24-28 to help prevent child sexual abuse.
    Read More