New York City’s YMCA empowers youth as kids head back to school

As children and teens get ready to return to school, New York City’s YMCA is beginning another year of programs to empower youth across the city.


As children and teens get ready to return to school, New York City’s YMCA is beginning another year of programs to empower youth across the city. From afterschool services to academic and leadership programs, the Y serves 70,000 youth every year, helping them develop skills for life, community, and leadership. These free and low-cost programs are critical for working parents by providing a safe, enriching place to send their child after the school day ends.

The YMCA opens doors for young New Yorkers and their families, said Lauren Barr, Executive of School and Branch Based Programs, K-12. The Y’s programs help kids learn, grow, and discover new things. And parents have peace of mind knowing their child is in a safe environment after school.

According to the Afterschool Alliance, 1 in 5 children in New York are alone after school. The YMCA helps bridge that gap through programs that put kids on a path to success.

Here’s a breakdown of key YMCA programs serving youth this school year:

Y Afterschool runs from 3-6pm every day. The curriculum focuses on learning enhancement, health and recreation, and building confidence in children. The YMCA serves 7,500 children at 70 Y Afterschool sites in New York City, the majority of which are free. (Watch Lorraine Singletary & Laylah Maldonado’s Afterschool story.)

Rowe Scholars is a comprehensive college and career access program for low-income students. Nearly 900 scholars in grades 6-12 receive homework help, SAT prep, college advising, and more. In 2017, more than 90 per cent of Rowe Scholars graduated from high school, compared to 74 per cent citywide.

Leaders Club helps hundreds of teens every year gain social skills, become better advocates, and give back to their community through service projects. Teens meet on a weekly basis in small groups and work on becoming better leaders.

Civic Engagement programs are also available at the Y, including Global Teens, Teens Take the City, and Youth & Government. These programs help youth channel their understanding of government and social issues and give them a community and a platform to use their voice. (Watch Ava LaGressa’s Global Teens story.)
About the New York City’s YMCA

New York City’s YMCA is here for all New Yorkers — to empower youth, improve health, and strengthen community. Founded in 1852, today the Y serves a diverse population of more than half a million New Yorkers who learn, grow, and thrive through programs and services at our 24 branches. Community is the cornerstone of the Y. Together, we connect active, engaged New Yorkers to build stronger communities. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @ymcanyc.

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