About Us

The Central Connecticut Coast YMCA is a charitable, not-for-profit, community service organization dedicated to putting Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. The Y strengthens the foundations of communities and families through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility in twenty-four towns and cities in the Greater Bridgeport and New Haven areas. Additionally, programs and services are offered through YMCA Camp Hi-Rock located in Mount Washington, MA.

At the Y, we’re for:

  • Youth DevelopmentWe believe that every child has great potential and should be given the opportunity and guidance to reach it.
  • Healthy LivingWe believe that a healthy life is achieved by actively striving for spiritual, mental, and physical well-being.
  • Social Responsibility We believe that the Y has been given the honor, resources, and responsibility to strengthen the foundations of community and family.

Find out more about our focus.

The Central Connecticut Coast YMCA is an inclusive organization open to all. The Y believes 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. At the Y, we welcome all people regardless of dimensions of diversity including race, faith, color, national origin/ancestry, sex, gender identity, marital status, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, disabilities, or socio-economic status.

With a special focus on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, the Y served 74,269 kids, families, and adults in twenty-five towns and cities including Bridgeport and New Haven.

Character development is at the heart of the Y’s mission, and the values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility were modeled and taught to 28,843 youth in 2019. Through participation in programs including child care, youth sports, summer camping, and Youth in Government, character was built and positive values were reinforced.

Defined as the difference in academic performance between low-income kids and their more privileged peers, the education achievement gap begins early in life for many children. In 2019, the Y continued to close the gap for 1,888 low-income children through the our 8 school-readiness programs, before and after-school programs serving 74 schools, and 50 summer camp programs with a special focus on developing reading and writing skills.

The Y has been teaching kids how to swim and be safe around the water for decades. In 2019, 13,391 children participated in Y swimming lessons and water safety education programs.

Overweight, obesity, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition affect most in our community. Almost 50% of our neighbors suffer from heart disease, and many do not realize the serious health consequences of leading an unhealthy lifestyle. In 2019, 46,173 youth and adults participated in Y health, wellness, education, physical activity and diabetes prevention programs and services. Additionally, 4,860 youth and adults were served through nutrition education, healthy eating, and hunger prevention programs, and 24,993 youth and adults participated in spiritual enrichment (mindfulness) programs.

Chronic homelessness is a challenge faced by many families and adults, particularly in Bridgeport and New Haven. With a large team of social workers and an inventory of 415 apartments, the Y continues to serve as the largest provider of affordable and supportive housing in the state. In 2019, the Y and our partners continued to reduce chronic homelessness in Bridgeport and New Haven.

As a source and resource for affordable programs and services, $3M in financial assistance was provided to 5,807 financially disadvantaged kids, families, and adults enabling participation in important Y programs or services.

Many thanks to our partners, donors, staff, and the 3,719 committed volunteers who donated 47,591 hours of their time to help the Y fulfill its mission!

For more information about the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA, please take a look at our 2019 Annual Financial Report and follow this link to our President’s Newsletters.

Our History

On May 8, 1859 a small group of businessmen held their first meeting to discuss organizing a YMCA in New Haven and within a year, the YMCA started their work with outreach programs and no building of their own. Now, 150 years later, the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA has grown to 11 branches serving 75,000 people annually in a 25 town area. Our YMCA is committed to caring for individuals and families, with a focus on youth. Through our leadership and diverse programs, we will advocate for those whose voices are seldom heard, improve neighborhoods, and make our communities better and the “us” who live in them stronger.

The Boards of Directors, Managers and Trustees remain the visionaries who guide the work, identify unmet needs in our communities and ensure that we have the staff capacity and financial support to make a difference in the outcomes for our many members and program participants.

Although the work of our YMCA has changed over the years, from teaching English to immigrants in the early 1900’s to teaching values to modern day youth, our Y’s have a long record of service and programs that have brought a better quality of life to their communities. One of the greatest things our Y’s will continue to do is build character in children and adults.

Association Office

AO Front WEBThe Association Office is located in downtown New Haven and is home to all leadership staff.

1240 Chapel Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Executive Management Team

David Stevenson, Ph.D. – President & CEO

Tim Bartlett – Sr. Vice President & COO

Melissa Kessell – Sr. Vice President & CFO

Alexandra Lee Simon – Director Human Resources

Michael Bonnardi – Director of Property Management

Donna Gill LisitanoMarketing and Communications Director

Janet Samelwich – Controller

Amy Wiltsie – Director Annual Campaign

Meet the team by clicking on their name.

Volunteer Leadership

The Central Connecticut Coast YMCA is governed by our Association Board of Directors that consists of volunteers from throughout the community. Each YMCA branch has its own volunteer Board which sets policy for its executive who manages the operation with full-time and part-time staff and volunteer leaders.

Association Board of Directors
  • Blanca Kazmierczak – Chair & Chief Volunteer Chair
  • Dr. Joe Bertolino – Vice Chair
  • James McGuinness – Vice Chair
  • Preston Tisdale, Esq. – Vice Chair
  • Christopher Gallo – Treasurer
  • Marc Romanow – Assistant Treasurer
  • George Logan – Secretary
  • Michael Horton – Assistant Secretary
  • Lissette Andino – Immediate Past Chair
  • Elena Bell
  • Patrick Charmel
  • Leo Connors, Jr.
  • Eileen Lopez-Cordone
  • Lin Christie
  • James Dillman
  • Martha Dulla
  • Dr. Mario Garcia
  • Dr. Ceasar Irby
  • Robert Jacob
  • Terron Jones
  • Melissa Kessell
  • Jon Leckerling
  • Patrick McGrath
  • Dan O’Donnell
  • Howard Olderman
  • Mike Papale
  • Andrew Patrick
  • Dustin Riedel
  • Katrina Rice
  • Dr. Jeff Santee
  • Andrea Seek
  • Alexis Smith
  • Dr. David Stevenson
  • Pascal Su
  • Dr. Prathibha Varkey
  • Donna Wells

Board of Trustees

  • Robert Fiscus – Chair
  • Jeffrey Jones – Vice Chair
  • Michael Leone – Treasurer
  • Sandra J. Brown – Secretary
  • David Bjorklund
  • Christopher Gallo
  • Blanca Kazmierczak
  • William Maley, Sr.
  • Ronald Noren

Anti-Racism Stance – A Call for Equity and Justice

YMCA North American Network (YNAN – 70 Largest YMCAs in North America) Adopted by the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA Board of Directors – July 23, 2020

In these uncertain and tumultuous times, we are called upon to address the disparate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, while also addressing the pandemic of systemic racism that led to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion calls upon us to stand in opposition to the neglect, abuse and violence suffered by Black and Brown people. For centuries, we have witnessed the brutal killing of Black and Brown people for simply being Black and Brown.

We stand with others who are outraged over the unjust treatment of Black and Brown people in North America and elsewhere.

As a movement, we strive to “be for all, all the time,” however, today, we are called upon to do more. We must demand a reality wherein one’s race does not dictate one’s health, longevity, safety or well-being. We are saddened to acknowledge that being Black in North America creates a greater likelihood of poverty, incarceration, poor health, under-employment, food insecurity, trauma, homelessness, and death at the hands of law enforcement. These social-economic conditions suggest that Black lives don’t matter, regardless of declarations to the contrary.

To move towards a more equitable and just society, we commit to working with others to create communities where Black and Brown people flourish, prosper and reach their fullest potential, and refuse to accept anything less. We also commit ourselves to being anti-racist by deepening our understanding of impact of race, unconscious bias, and privilege on our daily lives. We will advance our personal understanding and awareness, and that of our movement, by:

  • Prioritizing the eradication of racism as a strategic imperative of YNAN:
  • Participating in Unconscious Bias and Undoing Racism Training designed for leaders of community-based organizations;
  • Participating in trainings designed to provide us with knowledge and skills development in the areas of trauma-informed care, de-escalation and mediation strategies, and facilitation of conversations on race and racial injustice;
  • Seeking written confirmation from the YMCA of the USA that multi-cultural leadership development continues to be a strategic priority, along with a concrete plan for the restoration and sustainability of the Multicultural Leadership Development Program.
  • Creating a Task Force on Racial Equity to elevate our collective understanding of racism, examine the prevalence of systemic racism within the YMCA movement, and the development of a multicultural, anti-racist platform;
  • Facilitating on-going conversations with our boards, staff and communities regarding race and related matters; and
  • Support a Task Force on Health Disparities as a means of addressing the health disparities prevalent in Black and Brown communities.

The foregoing is intended to deepen our resolve and understanding of the issues adversely impacting the communities we serve, along with providing us with strategies to mitigate the same. As the largest Ys in America, we boldly move in the direction of breathing life into an anti-racist world.

Together we stand . . . for a better us!