Olympian Brings Excitement to “Empower Family Fun Night” at the Somerset Valley YMCA’s Hillsborough Branch

Olympian runner Joetta Clark Diggs with Alexis Varneckas (left) and Fiona Crossman of Hillsborough
Olympian runner Joetta Clark Diggs with Alexis Varneckas (left) and Fiona Crossman of Hillsborough

It was a chance to meet a four-time Olympian runner and enjoy an evening of family fun and games. 

The Hillsborough Branch of the Somerset Valley YMCA teamed up with Empower Family Success Center and hosted the first “Go for the Gold” Empower Family Fun Night on Thursday, March 27, opening the Y gym for activities and offering refreshments to inspire family togetherness.

And what better way to launch the first annual “Go for the Gold Night” than to feature Olympian athlete Joetta Clark Diggs, one of the world’s fastest distance runners?

“I enjoy meeting the families and I think it’s good to do events like this that bring families together,” said Ms. Clark Diggs, a New Jerseyan and former Hillsborough resident.

Fiona Crossman and her friend Alexis Varneckas of Hillsborough were among the many children who got an autograph and a gold medal from Ms. Clark Diggs.  After meeting Ms. Clark Diggs, the girls played games in the Y gym.

Kai Yang sampled grilled fruit offered as a nutritious snack. His mother, Hangdong Guo, of Hillsborough, said it was one of numerous family events that she and her three sons have attended at the YMCA.

“These events help us feel connected to our community,” she said.

The nonprofit Somerset Valley YMCA has three branches in Hillsborough, Bridgewater and Somerville.  “Our cause is to strengthen the foundations of our communities,” said Valerie Giacopelli, Executive Director of the Hillsborough Branch. “By offering everyone an opportunity to come out and enjoy a night of family fun, we are fulfilling our mission to serve our community.”

The Empower Family Success Center, which is part of the Somerville-based nonprofit Empower Somerset, exists to enrich the lives of children and adults and to strengthen families.

“With today’s economic hardships, families cannot afford traditional outings like going to the movies or ice skating. We partner with a multitude of businesses and organizations like the YMCA so we can provide fun events that are free for local families,” said Casey Randazzo, coordinator of Community Partnerships for Empower.

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