YMCA After School Programs Expand to Serve Even More Kids and Families

At a time when local kids and families need more support than ever, the YMCA has expanded its innovative after-school learning programs to three additional counties across Central Florida.

Modeled after the longstanding success of the YMCA After School Zone program, the new programs are providing after-school safety, learning, and wellness for an additional 1,000 middle school students throughout Brevard, Lake, and Osceola counties.

That’s in addition to 3,200 children per day the Y already serves through out-of-school time programs it operates onsite at 14 Orange County elementary and middle school locations.

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The newly created programs, which include summer learning sessions, have been established in schools where the majority of children qualify for free or reduced lunch programs due to lower-income.

In Lake County, four new after-school sites were funded through a five-year, $3 million 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. Five additional programs in Osceola and two in Brevard are being funded through $1 million in Florida legislative budget appropriations championed by State Senate President Andy Gardiner, Senators David Simmons, and Darren Soto, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Representative Tom Goodson.

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“At a time when so many families are working two or three jobs to survive, the Y is proud to provide quality, affordable out-of-school-time programs that keep kids safe, active, and learning,” said Shannon Matthews, YMCA Vice President of Youth Development. “In addition to providing peace of mind for busy parents, the Y is helping students improve their reading scores, close the achievement gap, and prepare for future success.”

The new programs are modeled on the success of the YMCA Afterschool Zone Program, funded through Orange County Government, which has served more than 191,000 students since 1999. Since then, 80% of students have been able to maintain a 2.0 GPA or better, while having higher rates of school attendance and lower rates of juvenile crime.