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The Hopewell Valley YMCA is proud to introduce recreational and club volleyball to Hopewell Valley, starting this month. Thanks in part to the generous $2,500 grant from the Recreation Foundation of Hopewell Valley and to the $1,000 donation from Kiersten Kollevoll and her Prevent Childhood Obesity Club, the YMCA purchased the equipment needed to launch this long-awaited program.  In addition to the generous grants, the YMCA Board of Directors allocated additional funds to complete the equipment purchase and install permanent sleeves into the floor of the Timberlane Middle School gymnasium to support the program.

Hopewell Valley Central High School student, Kiersten Kollevoll, wanted to play volleyball but, like many students before her, would have had to leave her home community in order to participate.  Kiersten researched her options and she successfully joined a club based out of West Windsor and the junior varsity team at Hopewell Valley Central High School during its 2013 inaugural year.  But, Kiersten wanted to do more locally, in particular to boost teen activity and body image, so she started the HVCHS Prevent Childhood Obesity Club.  In 2014, Kiersten and her fellow club members started raising money during Pennington Day and other community events.  Their goal was to start a volleyball program here, in their home community of Hopewell Valley.

Kiersten and her parents approached the Hopewell Valley YMCA for support in launching a volleyball program.  Because the YMCA is a charity that provides programs and services as needed in our local community, this was a great fit.  The YMCA has been operating an adult volleyball program for many years at Timberlane Middle School.  When the school district added volleyball teams to the high school sports programs, the YMCA started offering developmental clinics to help the local players build upon their skills, meeting the need as interest grew.  (Registration is now open for the developmental clinics at www.hvymca.org.)  Knowing that it takes resources to launch new programs, Kiersten and her friends raised $1,000 to donate to the YMCA to help with purchasing equipment.

The Hopewell Valley Regional School District added a ninth grade team this year in response to the popularity of team try-outs at HVCHS.  The district intends to add a middle school program next year, making it   perfect timing for the YMCA to launch the volleyball clubs. The YMCA is paying for improvements to the Timberlane gym and donating the use of the equipment to the school district so the middle school programs, the new Timberlane teams and physical education classes can use it too.

Pictured with the presentation check from the Recreation Foundation of Hopewell Valley are Eric Kollevoll; Diana Kollevoll; YMCA CEO Doug Pszczolkowski; HVRSD Superintendent Tom Smith; HVCS Seniors Alexis Peart, Aaron Palmieri, and Kristen Kollevoll; Hopewell Valley Recreation Foundation Co-Chair Kim Bruno; Board of Education member Mike Marculec; and President of the YMCA Board of Directors Ryan Kennedy
Pictured with the presentation check from the Recreation Foundation of Hopewell Valley are Eric Kollevoll; Diana Kollevoll; YMCA CEO Doug Pszczolkowski; HVRSD Superintendent Tom Smith; HVCS Seniors Alexis Peart, Aaron Palmieri, and Kristen Kollevoll; Hopewell Valley Recreation Foundation Co-Chair Kim Bruno; Board of Education member Mike Marculec; and President of the YMCA Board of Directors Ryan Kennedy

Hopewell Valley Athletic Director Tripp Becker added his support, “Next year we plan on implementing two new teams, 7th and 8th grade, girls’ volleyball teams at Timberlane.  Volleyball has been a huge success at the high school with the addition of a freshman team this year, because of growing numbers, as well as being a very popular intramural activity at Timberlane.  By having the YMCA come in and run developmental programs for the boys and girls, as well as having shared equipment, it’s a win-win for the schools’ volleyball teams and the district. This program provides more opportunities for students who have not been affiliated with other sports before.”

Beginning with open gym time from 7-9PM on Monday, November 16th thru Wednesday, November 18th, the Hopewell Valley YMCA will then hold try-outs on Thursday and Friday evenings for three girls’  clubs (13U, 14U, and 15U), the fruition of Kiersten’s dream.  Boys’ teams will be added in the near future Registrants must be current members of the Garden Empire Volleyball Association by joining at www.geva.org.

“The Recreation Foundation of Hopewell Valley is pleased to present a $2,500 grant to the YMCA’s volleyball club and support new local opportunities for our athletes,” stated Kim Bruno, Co-Chair of the Recreation Foundation of Hopewell Valley.

In addition to the new clubs, the YMCA is launching a developmental volleyball program as part of its commitment to the Special Olympics programming.  According to YMCA Board Member and Volunteer Coordinator for Special Olympics, Heather O’Connell, “Our coach, Megan Lipski, was a unified partner with Team USA at Special Olympics World Games this past summer in Los Angeles.”

“This is the result of pure community collaboration,” stated YMCA CEO Doug Pszczolkowski, “We’re grateful to the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, the Hopewell Valley Recreation Foundation, and the Kollevoll family, especially Kiersten.  We are really happy to meet the needs of our local community.”

President of the YMCA Board of Directors Ryan Kennedy stated, “On behalf of our volunteer Board of Directors and all our members, I am extremely appreciative of the support from Kiersten and the Recreation Foundation of Hopewell Valley.  I am excited that our program, the new Timberlane team and our Special Olympics team could come together in such a fantastic way.  Proceeds from the Rec Foundation’s annual Fall Ball fundraiser provide money for programs like this in Hopewell Valley, and I can think of no better  way to thank them than to join us at this year’s Fall Ball on Saturday, November 21st”  Tickets and information are available at www.hvrecfoundation.org.

The Hopewell Valley YMCA is a charitable organization dedicated to building a healthy spirit, mind, and body through programs which promote good health, strong families, youth leadership, and community development.  YMCA’s are open to men, women, and children of all ages, abilities, races, and religions. The YMCA serves over 1,400 participants annually through before/after-school childcare, summer day camp, youth and adult sports programs and the Hopewell Valley Youth Activity Center.

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Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), holds a seat on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, and is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.

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