Coalition thanks partici­pants in ‘Healthy Youth’ program

The Metuchen Coalition of Healthy Youth/Healthy Communities is a group of representatives from the Metuchen/Edison/Woodbridge YMCA, the Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce, the Metuchen public schools administration, the Metuchen/Edison Clergy Association and the Metuchen community at large. Our mission during the 2003-04 school year was to arrange informative "Facing the Teen Years Together" programs for parents of preteens and teens that would offer guidance and support.

In October, the Metuchen/Edison/Woodbridge YMCA sponsored keynote speaker Deborah Roffman, author of "Sex and Sensibility, the Thinking Parents’ Guide to Talking Sense About Sex."

The featured panelists for the "Ask the Experts" segments in November and February were Joel Kleinman, Ph.D., clinical psychologist; Judith Cheung, substance awareness coordinator, Metuchen Board of Education; Nora Gelpin, director of training and education, network for family life education, Rutgers University; Joe Ernest, Metuchen Police Department DARE officer; Paul Piniero, vice principal Metuchen High School; and Danene Sorace, .program manager, network for family life education, Rutgers University.

"How to Say It to Your Teenager When Bad Things Happen … Good Answers to Tough Questions" was the focus of our final program. Our panelists included Susan Stephens,., children’s bereavement program coordinator, Haven Hospice, JFK Medical Center; Maureen E. Vella, attorney and professional mediator; Monica E. Sosnowitz., director of First Step Counseling Services; and the Rev. James Thomas, interim associate pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Metuchen.

On behalf of the steering committee, I would like to thank each of the participants who volunteered their time and talent to make these four programs successful. We live in a borough that is very committed to its youth and where the local businesses, civic groups, religious communities and school administration never hesitate to give back to the families who live and raise children here.

Lorraine Mulligan

Metuchen Coalition of Healthy Youth/Healthy Communities

Increased rates of childhood obesity, poor nutrition and passive lifestyles with little exercise are taking their toll on our children. The results and statistics are staggering. More than 15 percent of children ages 6 to 19 are obese. That’s three times more than 20 years ago. In an effort to educate people and address this is­sue, Head 2 Toe Fitness ( has been teaming up with schools and businesses across New Jersey.

As a four-time Olympian and founder of Head 2 Toe Fitness, I have spent my time visiting schools to provide children with insight into physical and mental conditioning, and the formation of good exercise habits that can stay with them for life. Unfortunately, we witness this epidemic firsthand. Countless kids are following adult role models who are ei­ther uneducated or unfazed by the un­healthy foods and lifestyles that surround them. Through our wellness seminars, school athletic programs and family exer­cise  DVD’s, we are able to provide infor­ma­tion to children and adults who have the opportunity to break this dangerous cy­cle.

Adults who stand idly by are doing a disservice to our youth. The tools are there, but we must be motivated to use them and change our way of living.

Joetta Clark


Head 2 Toe Fitness