• Summit Area YMCA

Community Partnerships Bring Virtual Lunar New Year Celebration


The Lunar New Year, most commonly associated with the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, typically falls sometime between January 21 and February 20 each year. Lunar New Year 2021 is on February 12, and according to the Chinese zodiac, this year is the Year of the Ox! In addition to being observed in China, it is celebrated throughout Asia, including South Korea and Singapore. In Vietnam, Lunar New Year is known as Tết, and in Tibet it's Losar. In South Korea, it is called Seollal. Though celebrated by many, the customs and traditions in each culture are unique and special, with a common thread of celebrating new beginnings, spending time with family and honoring ancestors.


In years past, the Summit Area YMCA partnered with the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council to host joyous in-person Lunar New Year Festivals complete with performances, demonstrations, local food vendors and activities focused on Lunar New Year traditions and Asian culture. This year, the Summit Area YMCA will once again be partnering with the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council, as well as a number of other community organizations and groups including Giving Back, Sage Eldercare and Han Academy to virtually celebrate the holiday.


“Giving Back is happy to partner with the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council and the YMCA on this important and meaningful event. Happy New Year!!” said Sue Seto, founder of Giving Back, a local group committed to initiating a variety of donation drives, volunteer events and providing for those in need in the community. The local virtual celebration will be conducted online through Zoom on February 13, 2021, and will include a lion dance performance by Garden State Lion Dance, Lunar New Year story time, activities and more. Join in on the celebration via the Summit Area YMCA’s Lunar New Year Festival webpage at www.thesay.org/lnyf


In addition to the Zoom celebration, the Summit Area YMCA’s Berkeley Heights YMCA and Summit YMCA branches is hosting a Lunar New Year Care Package Supplies collection drive from February 2-February 19, 2021 to create care packages that will be delivered to local senior citizens in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Summit by Sage Eldercare’s Meals on Wheels program.


“The year 2020 was tough and often scary for Meals on Wheels clients, volunteers and staff. Thanks to community support and donations, we worked straight through quarantine and were able to deliver more than 50,000 meals, 7000 more than in 2019!” said Amy Stuart, Community Program and Volunteer Coordinator at Sage Eldercare. “We continue to make sure that everyone who is involved stays safe, connected and cared for in 2021.”


“Our annual Lunar New Year event was always such a fun time to ring in the new year and share Asian culture with our community. This year, we wanted to still provide that, in a safe way, so we decided to go virtual. We also wanted to give back to the community and to support our local seniors, since much of Lunar New Year is focused on family and honoring your ancestors. Many seniors are in quarantine, have limited access to goods and social interaction,” said Jenny Yip, leader of the Summit Area YMCA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. “With the help of our community partners, we were able to connect with Sage Eldercare and hopefully with donations from the community and from our Lunar New Year Planning committee, we can bring some cheer to our local seniors. We want to let them know that they are loved, and that their community is here for them, especially during these times.”


More Lunar New Year and Chinese New Year festivities coming up include Han Academy’s (mandarin) virtual celebration on February 13 at 10:30am. "We are excited to be part of the Lunar New Year Celebration this year and to contribute multi-cultural diversity to our local community." said Qing Li, Co-owner of Han Academy.


Sign up for Han Academy’s (Mandarin) Virtual Celebration


Additionally, join the National YMCA’s Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Network’s Virtual Lunar New Year Celebration on February 12, at 2PM Eastern. Enjoy discussions, demonstrations and performances by local YMCA leaders and community members and register online for free at http://bit.ly/YLunarNewYear


For a full list of scheduled Lunar New Year festivities, visit www.thesay.org/lnyf


As a charitable nonprofit organization, the Y is focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Supporting youth, families and the community in their efforts to spread cultural awareness and appreciation for diversity is core to the Y’s mission to help all individuals to learn, grow, and thrive. Through its programs and services, the Summit Area YMCA is committed to creating a welcoming, safe and inclusive environment for all.


The Berkeley Heights Diversity Council was founded over six years ago to honor and embrace the diverse cultures and perspectives within Berkeley Heights. Our goal is to spread awareness and foster inclusion. The BHDC is open and welcoming to all who reside in Berkeley Heights wishing to celebrate the diversity of our great town together and can be found at www.BHDiversity.org or reached at BHdiversity@gmail.com


Giving Back Club is an unofficial club of young children and adults participating in events to give back to the local communities and people. Past events include organizing food drives, making holiday cards for seniors, hosting recitals at nursing homes, outwear drives and collecting essentials for formerly incarcerated men and women.


As a women-owned learning center in Berkeley Heights, Han Academy provides after school programs, summer camp, and private lessons throughout year with a focus on academic tutoring, STEAM learning and language learning. We strives to promote creativity and quality learning for students between the age of 3-12 in subjects such as English, Math, Robotics, Computer Programming, Mandarin Chinese, Performing Arts, etc. More details can be find at https://www.hanacademynj.com. You can reach us at info@hanacademynj.com or 908-350-6000.


Since 1954, SAGE Eldercare has been a unique community resource that offers an array of programs and services for older adults and caregivers promoting independence and quality of life. SAGE is the oldest continuously run home delivered meal program in the state of New Jersey. Each weekday 20 - 30 volunteers deliver nutritious meals to homebound, isolated older adults who are over the age of 60. Our 200 volunteers deliver much more than a meal - they also provide vital daily contact and a friendly visit. For more information please call 908-273-5554 or visit us at www.sageeldercare.org


About the Summit Area YMCA

The Summit Area YMCA is one of the area’s leading 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. Founded in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA has a history steeped in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income and background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Each year, we serve over 15,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the communities of Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, Stirling and Summit. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those with demonstrated need.


Originally published in TAPinto Berkeley Heights on February 10, 2021

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