YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood

New Beginnings for Y Parents

Thanks to the generous grant from the UJA-Federation of New York Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal, the Y has officially announced the launch of our new initiative for new and expectant parents, “The Y Beginnings Parenting Center”.

Y Beginnings is a pilot program for expectant parents and parents of babies and toddlers ages 0 to 2 in northern Manhattan, offering pathways to explore Jewish traditions, values and wisdom through the paradigm of birthing, parenting, infant care and parental support.

Northern Manhattan has become a destination community for NYC families with a diverse Jewish population that has increased in recent years; our community has the greatest percentage growth (144%) in Jewish population in the New York Metropolitan area with 144% (UJA-Federation Jewish Community study of New York: 2011). An investment in this initiative is aligned with our larger vision of strengthening Jewish identity for families and offering them an entry point to a lifetime of meaningful Jewish engagement.

The families participating in our early childhood programs will have opportunities at the Y for a continuum of engagement. With almost 100 years of experience in Washington Heights and Inwood, we know the community well and respond to evolving needs and demographics well.

We are very pleased to introduce you to our Early Childhood Department’s new staff member, Kelly Sawils, RPYT, CCCE, CEIM, M.A., who will serve as the Program Coordinator of the Y Beginnings Parenting Center. Kelly is excited to be a part of the Y community, and looks forward to meeting you and offering a full range of supportive programs and resources during the early childbearing years. Kelly is a registered prenatal yoga teacher and trainer, childbirth educator, birth doula, infant massage educator and a mom of three. Kelly holds a Master’s Degree from Hunter College in medical geography. Kelly has worked with mothers and expecting couples for the past ten years.

Classes will be offered in prenatal self-care (i.e. yoga & nutrition), birth preparation, newborn care, breastfeeding support, evening workshops on various postpartum discussion topics, fun playgroups for little ones, and opportunities for parents get together and form social networks. “It takes a whole village to raise a child,” and the Y Beginnings Parenting Center presents a wonderful opportunity for this thriving community to come together in the spirit of fun, friendship and learning. 

Our hope is that fresh and innovative programming for expectant parents and parents of young children, offered in an environment that embraces diversity, will make them more likely to engage in Jewish life and community. We are confident in an approach that offers multiple pathways that exposes young families to Jewish values, guidance from experts in the field, and encouragement to participate at different levels of involvement through the entire span of their life cycles.

A full brochure of programming will be coming soon, so be sure check our early childhood website for more information about this exciting new endeavor.

About the Y
Established in 1917, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (the Y) is Northern Manhattan’s premier Jewish community center — serving an ethnically and socio-economically diverse constituency — improving the quality of life for people of all ages through critical social services and innovative programs in health, wellness, education, and social justice, while promoting diversity and inclusion, and caring for those in need.

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