Woman of the Year

East Boston Times 2010 Woman of the Year East Boston YMCA Executive Director Joey Cuzzi with Governor Deval Patrick during the Y’s annual breakfast at the Logan Hilton.

Joey Cuzzi

It’s hard enough keeping a non-profit afloat in these tough fiscal times but its unheard of to raise enough money to expand. Try telling that to East Boston YMCA Executive Director Joey Cuzzi and she’ll say there is a need and with that need there has to be more programs for East Boston families and youth.

This year the YMCA opened a new facility on Ashley Street across from St. Joseph-St. Lazarus Church under Cuzzi’s direction and for her efforts to continue expanding youth and family programming in the neighborhood Cuzzi is the East Boston Times 2010 Woman of the Year.

The sky’s the limit for the East Boston YMCA’s new facility on Ashley Street.

The Y put $50,000 of improvements in the old church hall which included updates to the gym, bathrooms, the hall’s fire system, new doors and windows and a much needed paint job.

Cuzzi said the began renovations in the spring in order to get the site up and running in time for the Y’s 2010 summer camp.

“This really is a great addition to the East Boston YMCA and we look at this new facility as an extension of Bremen Street,” said Cuzzi.

The Y signed a three year lease with the Boston Archdiocese for the building with another three year option after the original lease runs out.

The building, which had been vacant of community activity for a number of years with exception of the Orient Heights Neighborhood Association, has been turned into a vibrant community center and offering a variety of health and wellness programs for adults, families and children.

The building opened on June 28 as home base for the Y’s camp, and will be programmed this summer in the evenings and weekends for children, adults and families.

“We are planning everything from dance classes to aerobics to family days,” said Cuzzi. “We can really grow in this space so it’s very exciting.”

Members of the East Boston Y, have member privileges at the Ashley Street location.

“This means you can use the gym and its regulation size basketball court during open gym times, and will be entitled to member pricing for programs that require a registration fee,” explained Cuzzi.

The two story building includes a lower level hall which is handicapped accessible, and a 4,000 square foot gym on the main level.

“The building will be staffed by the Y and held to the same standards of operation as Bremen Street, with all instruction provided by trained and certified YMCA employees,” said Cuzzi. “Your current membership card will allow you access to Ashley Street.”

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