YMCA’s Duck Race Benefits Local Families and Mental Health Programs

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From The South Mountain YMCA:

From YouthNet, Sheri McKinstrie (kneeling) and Diane Malloy (top left) and Erika Malgieri and Camilla Finch Teitelman (at right). Joining them are Denyse Reed and Ginger Barkoski middle, in back, and James Goodger, bottom right, District Executive Director at South Mountain YMCA. Photo credit: Claire Sinclair

The South Mountain YMCA celebrated 25 years of the iconic Duck Race on Memorial Day, raising a net total of $31,784 for local children and families through duck sponsorships, ticket and T-shirt sales, prize and individual donations. 

The event began with participants in duck-themed attire marching in the town’s Memorial Day Parade before releasing 1,000 rubber ducks down the river in six heats. 

“The Duck Race stands out as a highlight in the Y’s annual calendar, showcasing the strength of our community while raising essential funds to help local families and youth access the support and services they need to flourish,” said James Goodger, District Executive Director at the South Mountain YMCA. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated Y staff team, the Board of Managers, our generous sponsors, prize donors, the countless volunteers, township officials, and all friends of the Y. Together, we made a significant impact on many lives in just one day.”

The annual Duck Race brings staff, volunteers, township leaders, businesses and community organizations together for a fun family experience and great cause. Proceeds go toward the Y’s financial assistance program, which helps make Y programs like child care, sports and enrichment, and summer camp affordable for families with extenuating circumstances. In 2023 alone, the South Mountain Y awarded over $386,000 in direct financial assistance, with 1 in 10 children in summer camps and 1 in 8 children in child care programs receiving assistance. 

This year’s Ellie & Charlie Gianni Community Impact Grant recipient is the Maplewood-based nonprofit YouthNet, which received $5,000 of Duck Race proceeds. This organization was selected for a number of qualifying factors including alignment with the Y’s mission and demonstrated community impact. 

This award will help YouthNet establish a new mental health initiative that aims to arm young people with the skills to face challenges like academic stress, peer pressure, interpersonal conflict, and identity development. YouthNet is active in the SOMA community, supporting teens through after school clubs and partnerships with local businesses and organizations.

“YouthNet is so honored to be the recipient of this grant. The funding will allow us to bring additional programming to the middle school community and help get our mental initiative off the ground,” said Diane Malloy, Executive Director of YouthNet.

For more information about the Duck Race, visit www.metroymcas.org/south-mountain-ymca/duck-race/.



Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges invests in its diverse communities to promote wellness, safety and quality of life for children, adults and seniors. Its seven branches in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, New Milford, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility through an array of programs. Some 35,000 people belong to the Metro Y, which awards more than $2 million annually in direct and indirect financial assistance.


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