April 10, 2012
This YMCA serves 4 fairly rural counties and provides programs and services not otherwise available to families and children. There is little option for affordable child care in this area and working families are dealing with challenges to "make ends meet" by working multiple part time jobs, doing shift work, or traveling into more urban areas 30 to 60 miles away. The Wilderness Trace YMCA operates child care and supervision programs after school, snow days, teacher "in-service" days and summers so that parents can stay in the work force without anxiety or poor attendance. The cost per child is more than 25% below commercial child care and 30% of the children receive need based scholarship. The WTFYMCA child care programs are certified, accredited, registered and receive no federal funds. The venues are local schools so that the children are either bused to the program or remain in their own school. There are 4 locations in 3 counties. The "Y" provides its own trained and nurturing staff and all the materials. The program provides a healthy snack, homework support, quiet reading, physical activity, arts/crafts and stresses caring, respect, honesty, responsibility. Ages served are 5-12. Older children are able to participate in the supervised "open gym" activities at the "Y" building from school closing until 5:30 pm for a $20/year membership or $1/day. This program protects more than 100 children who would otherwise be "latchkey kids" at risk for physical and psychological harm, poor school performance, bad social influences, and cultivation of bad eating and exercise habits. This "Y" runs a lean budget with only 2 full time employees. The United Way has cut financial support in recent years due to stress on its own fundraising in this area.
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