This fall, the Farmington Valley YMCA kicked off its After School Enrichment program, which involves homework help, projects, exercise, science experiments, literacy support and more.
“This is the first-step to being more of a presence in the community,” said Michael Garcia, senior director for the organization. “We’re really excited to be here. We’re looking to broaden the scope for kids.”
A YMCA-run before and after school program was approved by the Board of Education in February. Originally designed to begin at the end of last school year, it began this fall. The numbers are small, Garcia said, with about six kids participating in an afternoon session participating. It takes place at Canton Intermediate School but has participants from Cherry Brook as well.
Garcia feels more parents will take advantage of the program as word gets out. In addition the program is adding a two-day option for those parents who have other arrangements but want to take advantage of the offering.
“We’re finding parents don’t know we’re here,” he said. “For us it’s an education component.”
The program begins with some homework time and staff can help ensure it gets done. Somewhat surprisingly it’s an aspect 4th-grader Frankie Flaherty appreciates.
“I have football at night and I can get my homework done here,” he said.
In addition the participants participate in some experiments and projects designed to correspond with what they are studying in school.
Often done in two to three-month increments the emphasis through December is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Garcia said health is also another big component. “Going outside a lot” is 5th-grader Alyssa Peters’ favorite aspect.
In addition, healthy eating is discussed and the kids recently made their own pesto.
Social interaction is emphasized and site director Sam Walker said she loves how students develop friendship they may not otherwise have.
“It’s an excellent program,” she said.
The cost of the program varies. For five days a week after school until 6 p.m. the cost is $410 per child a month. Three days is $307 and a new two-day option is $205. Financial aid is available and Garcia said he doesn't want anyone to think their finances should prevent a child from participating.
To learn more or find out how to enroll your child, contact Garcia at 860-653-5524 ext. 138 or Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org.