Choose your preferred language
Your Gift Supports Less Fortunate Children
Your Gift Fights Childhood Obesity
Your Gift Redefines Retirement
Somerset County 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

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.

In all you do throughout the year, it is important to always make water safety a priority. The world is 71% water after all and your kids are curious. Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 3, the second-leading cause among kids under 15, and the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for people of all ages. Despite these alarming figures, only 34 percent of parents know that water is one of the top life-threatening dangers for kids, according to a survey by Safe Kids Worldwide, a child-safety advocacy group. Young children are most vulnerable in pools while older children and teens face dangers in lakes and at the beach.

What can you do? The best way to guarantee a fun – and most importantly, a safe experience – is to ensure that you and your family are aware of all of the risks associated with water activities and submersion.

As aquatic professionals, strong risk management and safety practice are key to protecting our members and community. You will find that at all Somerset County YMCA locations, we conduct in-services to ensure our staff can quickly identify a swimmer in distress and can respond to the emergency accordingly. We also require that all non-swimmers or those under the age of 7, swim with an adult within arm’s reach. Whether your child is swimming in 3 inches of water or 3 feet, they must always be supervised. Our pool rules should be abided by at all hours of operation – they are in place to minimize risks that can result in a drowning.


Water Safety Tipswater_safety_infographic

Here are some vital tips to make sure you and your family always keep in mind.

  • Swim only when supervised
    Even the strongest swimmer can drown. It is important to always supervise your children when you are in and around the water, even when there is a lifeguard present. Never leave a child to supervise another child, even if that child can swim.

  • Buddy system
    Always swim with a buddy. Even when supervised by a lifeguard or swimming in a public pool, always have another person with you.

  • Enroll in swimming lessons
    Enroll yourself, your children, and your spouse in swimming lessons. Formal lessons do protect children from drowning. At the Y, we begin with life-saving skills involving safety around water and progress to teaching your child the mechanics of how to swim. The Y is the leading organization in teaching swim lessons and invented the concept of the group swim lesson more than 100 years ago!

  • Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
    The American Heart Association states that CPR performed in the first few minutes, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.

  • No breath-holding
    Underwater breath-holding is very dangerous and can cause blackouts that lead to drowning. Teaching your children that breath-holding contests should not be done is imperative.

  • Use lifejackets
    While swimming or boating, wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets. Do not, however, rely solely on the life jackets – again, all children must be supervised and within arm’s reach from an adult.

Swim Lessons & School

Swimming is a vital skill that makes life safer and more fun. Over the years at the Y, we have taught thousands of children and adolescents to swim, which has helped to minimize the risk of drowning in our community. YMCA swim lessons build self-esteem, confidence and fitness. 

This summer, sign your children up for a variety of programs based on their swim ability. If you are unsure of your child’s level, you can drop by for a free swim evaluation at any of our locations. Visit to learn more and register. (Summer registration opens June 12, 2017.)

Somerset County YMCA would like to wish you all a fun and WATER SAFE summer!

Please feel free to contact our Aquatic Directors for any questions or additional information on swim programs.

Bridgewater YMCA: Contact Valerie Deraville at 908 526 0688 x311 or by email.

Hillsborough YMCA: Contact Lisa Slover at 908 369 0490 x717 or by email.

Somerset Hills YMCA: Contact Duke Munzer at 908 766 7898 x518 or email.

Somerville YMCA :Contact Valerie Deraville at 908 526 0688 x311 or by email.
  • Swim
  • Kids & Families
  • Child Safety