New Special Needs Program Launchs with Donation from the Loretta Mc Gowan Foundation

Author: Meadowlands YMCA
Date Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Programs INC. is the first-of-its-kind allowing participation of multi-ability participants in regularly scheduled classes.

East Rutherford, NJ, December 11, 2018— January will kick off the first ever programming for multi-ability participants in the Meadowlands Y Programs INC. classes. Programs Inc will provide an opportunity for children and adults with special needs to enroll in designated classes enriched with Inclusion Specialists selected according to the specific needs of those taking the class.

“As a Y, we believe that in a diverse world we are stronger when we are inclusive, when our doors are open to all and when everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.” Said Ron Simoncini, Chairman and Chief Volunteer Officer of the Meadowlands YMCA Board of Directors. There is a tremendous need for this type of programming in our community. Twenty percent of Americans between the ages of 16-64 suffer from some form of emotional or mental disability. There are over 75,000 Bergen County residents who have special needs and 21,000 of them are enrolled in non-inclusionary programs. We’ve identified a gap in service to a much-needed community which we are addressing through Programs Inc.”

“Addressing the special needs population has always been an important component of what we do and our Aquatics area has been active in this area for many years. As a Y without Walls for 97- years, we were limited in our ability to serve this population. Now that we have our full-service central facility, we are able to explore many programs and services and Programs Inc is one that holds a very important role in our mission to serve our community.” Said, Jane A Egan, President and CEO of the Meadowlands YMCA.

“My brothers Martin, Tommy and I launched the Loretta Mc Gowan Foundation in 2007, in honor of our Aunt Loretta who lived to the age of 62 with Down Syndrome said Patrick,Mc Gowan. We grew up in the house with Aunt Loretta and we were able to know her in way most people don’t understand. She was an amazing and caring person and she very special to us so we wanted to share her spirit with others. Programs Inc is a great way for us to help others like Aunt Loretta participate and grow alongside their peers. The Loretta Mc Gowan Foundation is excited and proud to support Programs Inc and we look forward to many years of serving this community.”

Amy Costa, Sr Program Director of the Meadowlands YMCA is excited about the opportunity to serve the special needs population and has made it a top priority. “We are launching Programs Inc. with 8 designated classes for ages 4 to 104. For our youngest participants, there is ballet/tap, for ages 7 to 17, they can choose from gymnastics, painting or cooking and for adults there is a Martial Arts class. We tried to pick a range of offering and will build upon the selection as we see a need. The benefit is for those with and without disabilities creating lasting friendships and greater opportunities for interaction among everyone.”

A huge thank you to Patrick Mc Gowan of the Loretta Mc Gowan Foundation for making this incredible lead donation. The Loretta Mc Gowan Foundation is non-profit organization formed to foster research and educational efforts to help people with Down Syndrome, created in honor of the Mc Gowan brothers’ beloved Aunt Loretta. In less than ten years the charity raised in excess of one million dollars, proceeds which were largely allocated toward the education field.

We can’t wait to get started and make a positive difference in our community for those of all ages! 

About the Loretta Mc Gowan Foundation

The Loretta Mc Gowan Foundation, a non-profit organization with 501(c)3 status, was formed to help foster education and research on Down Syndrome. Ultimately, the Loretta Mc Gowan Foundation hopes to raise enough money to establish its own facility that not only effectively researches and educates on the genetic disorder but will also serve as a reliable resource for individuals with Down Syndrome to socialize, learn, and most importantly, find happiness. In the interim, The Loretta Mc Gowan Foundation has been working with select organizations with similar goals to better people’s lives. The foundation’s intent is to help enhance and strengthen these organizations’ foundations which, taken as a whole, supports a similar goal. Learn more about the foundation at


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