Y Enrichment Centers

September 21, 2020

The program runs from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm with the first half of the day set up like a normal school day. Each student has a designated space for learning with Y staff and volunteers available to assist students with their daily work. In the afternoon, children participate in enrichment activities, physical activity, and outdoor play.

Although running virtual learning centers is new territory for the Y, caring for children and providing academic support for elementary-aged children is a long-standing program. In a normal school year, the Y provides after school programming for upwards of six hundred children across 27 sites.

“We knew that childcare was going to be a great need this school year and have been planning for months on how we can best adapt our program to support both families and children,” said Mark Johnson YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge President and CEO. “We want to do whatever we can to prevent children from being at home by themselves.”

The largest of the Y’s five enrichment sites is located at the Kirk Family YMCA where over 50 Roanoke City School students are on a fully virtual schedule.

“The first week was no easy feat,” said Jonathan Pait executive director of the Gainsboro YMCA. Our team has to help students with logging in to their virtual learning platform and keep track of every child’s live meeting times. Now that we are a couple of weeks in, we are in a routine that is working and have come up with some great systems to keep track of the children’s daily work,” said Pait.

Since early in the pandemic, the Y has been caring for children. In March they opened Camp Hope, providing care for children of essential workers and in May they kicked off their annual summer camp program.

Space is still available at Y Enrichment Centers and financial assistance is available for those in need. For more information on this program visit www.ymcavbr.org.