The Future is Bright for Washington Heights and Inwood

As New York City now faces a brighter future, we’re filled with hope for our community, which has been hit very hard throughout the pandemic. While we take a moment to celebrate how well we pivoted to support the needs of our neighbors in new ways — providing emergency cash assistance; hot, nourishing meals delivered to homebound seniors; robust virtual programs for people of all ages; and remote social services — we’re thrilled to now welcome back in-person summer camps and onsite senior lunches and programming.
 
“With the success of mass vaccinations and safety protocols, COVID-19 doesn’t pose the same health risks for the general public, and New York is officially lifting most of its pandemic-response restrictions,” said Y Chief Executive Officer Martin Englisher. “Everyone at the Y is excited to restart in-person programs that became remote or were put on pause, due to the City’s restrictions. Even though we sorely missed the pre-pandemic hustle and bustle at the Y, we learned a lot about our neighbors and their needs during this time. It gave us an opportunity to retool and refocus — to do even more for Northern Manhattan. It’s a slightly changed world, and we’re committed to making sure the future is bright for Washington Heights and Inwood.”
 
“While a collective tragedy with few precedents, the COVID-19 pandemic was also a testament of our community’s resilience,” said Y Chief Program Officer Martin Yafe. “One of the lessons we learned during the last 15 months was about the intensity of our interconnectedness and interdependence. At the Y, we recognize that we are one community, and what happens to one person affects others. It is my hope that the togetherness and unity with which we fought the pandemic will remain an integral part of what makes Washington Heights and Inwood such a strong, vital, and bustling community.”
 
“It’ll be wonderful to see our older adults together again at the Y, as they listen to one another, share stories about their losses and resilience, catch up on news of family and friends, and laugh over hot, delicious meals,” said Y Chief Development and Social Services Officer Victoria Neznansky. “Our youngest campers — at Footpaths Nursery Camp — are in for a very special treat, too, as we welcome them back to in-person camp and our brand-new roof-top playground, garden, and sprinklers. Our community was devastated by the pandemic, and we are grateful to have been able to care for our neighbors in need. We remain committed, as always, to help the community recover by providing vital services and by being a source of hope.”
 
“A big part of the reason I wanted to work at a community center was to see, hear, and feel the programs and services taking place,” said Y Chief Operating Officer Michael Fermaglich. “These past 15 months have been personally and professionally challenging, and we had to make adjustments in order to help people and to modify what it means to create community. As more programs open, and we welcome more people physically into our space, we look forward to walking the halls, hearing the full buzz of activity and, when the time is right, literally seeing smiling faces.”
 
We look forward to seeing you soon!

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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