YMCA’s Child Care is a program that makes an impact

Published 7:54 am Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Today, more parents than ever work outside the home, and many struggle to secure adequate after-school care for their children. As a result, large numbers of youngsters find that they are left alone and unsupervised when the school bell rings at the end of the day.

Studies have shown that the after-school hours can be the most dangerous ones for children. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 30 percent of all juvenile offenses occur on school days between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and that the number of violent crimes committed doubles in the hour immediately after school is let out.

In addition to securing the safety of children, Y After School Child Care at the Bainbridge YMCA is able to provide extended learning opportunities to support the development of children and improve their academic skills.

Email newsletter signup

That is certainly the experience of Ms. Tina Holly, a single mother of two daughters, a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old. Allyssa is her 6-year-old, who has experienced many challenges in her kindergarten classes until just this week. After joining the YMCA Child Care program, she has been working with others to focus on her reading and math skills. As her mid-February report now shows, she has moved from “Getting Behind in Skills” to “Right on Target!”

Allyssa has faced additional difficulties with autism, that require nearly-one-on-one attention, which is why the After School Child Care provided by the YMCA hits all the right buttons. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills, and can become a daily challenge for any parent or educator to address.

Carrie McDonald, the coordinator of the Y After School programs, along with Director Brenda Reynolds, have made sure that special time is taken with each child from the time they load the bus till the time they are picked up and delivered home.

“In many cases, our children simply need a little extra attention so that they know they are capable of success,” Reynolds said.

Experts believe that after-school programs have a key role in the social-emotional and physical growth of children, particularly when schools are focused on meeting higher academic standards that result in shorter and less time for socializing and play during the school day. At YMCA Child Care, children are provided an opportunity to learn, have fun, get active and discover who they are.

More physical activity is provided at the Bainbridge Y program, including tennis, swimming and bowling, along with indoor and outdoor recreation time and movement each day. Students are placed in age-appropriate groups for both study and play time, so that they are certain to interact with their peers. In addition, a warm daily snack is provided for all participants in the program.

The YMCA Child Care staff is carefully selected and each staff member receives more than 30 hours of training in child development and nutrition, as well as CPR and first aid. The Y Kids Club is considered among the finest facilities in south Georgia and used not only for After School Child Care but for the summer Y Day Camp program as well.

If you wish to place your child in one of these program opportunities, or speak with our new front desk staff member, Ms. Tina Holly, about her daughters’ experience, simply call the YMCA today at (229) 243-0508. You can find more details by checking out the new website, coming March 1 at www.bainbridgeymca.org.

Mike Haynes is the interim CEO of the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA. He can be reached at (229) 243-0508.