When school ends for more than 15 million children in America, so does their supervision.
It is the main reason why on Oct. 20, events were held nationwide to promote the need for after-school programs, as part of the Lights On Afterschool Celebration. The events were part of a project developed by the Afterschool Alliance, a national not-for-profit based in Washington D.C., which focuses on getting children involved with quality, affordable after-school programs.
The celebration was recognized at all branches of the Capital District YMCA, including the Bethlehem branch, where a range of activities are provided from 3-6 p.m. each day, as kids from kindergarten to middle school make their way from the classroom to the Y.
“We put together lesson plans, and implement them into nine different centers,” said Penny Shaw, the Child Care Site Supervisor at the YMCA. “It is never going to be just a babysitting service.”
“When you look at the stats, and at that 3-6 p.m. time, it’s really startling to see the things that kids can get into,” said Rob Totaro, the Director of Communications for the Capital District YMCA. “By having access to a quality child care program, it should give parents peace of mind to know that their kids are in a safe place with caring adults looking after them.”
Students are bussed from their schools to the facility, as part of an arrangement with the Bethlehem Central School District. On an average afternoon, kids may be outside playing sports with counselors, or inside participating in activities inside and outside the Y’s classrooms.
“We treat the children with respect, and teach them how to treat others with respect,” said Shaw. “We help them with their homework, we play games, we have art projects, and we focus on the community and our country.”