YMCA Expands Middle School Academic Enrichment


Asheville, N.C., July 22, 2020 – The YMCA of Western North Carolina will expand its high-quality middle school programming from Buncombe County to McDowell County with the help of a $1.2 million federal grant.

The funds will support the Y’s Horizons program at 11 middle schools through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program (21st CCLC) over a three-year period.

There is no charge for the Horizons program, which emphasizes student success through tutoring, extended school day enrichment opportunities through research-based, hands-on learning, increased parent and family involvement, and holistic social and emotional learning.

Starting with the 2020-2021 school year, the Y’s program will serve more than 300 students from local communities for 14 hours a week after school. During the summer, more than 80 students will get 30 hours a week of academic tutoring and support and enrichment activities that are intended to reinforce and complement the regular academic curriculum.

The Y has run the 21st CCLC program in Buncombe County Schools for the past 10 years to the acclaim of administrators and parents.

"The Horizons program is a wonderful resource and opportunity for our middle school students,” said Dr. Tony Baldwin, superintendent of Buncombe County Schools. “Not only does the YMCA of Western North Carolina provide a safe after-school environment, but our kids can explore their creative interests and also get help with homework assignments. This is an enriching and positive program that will continue to make a difference for our students.”

“My child has a great group of friends and is doing more than just sitting at home on his video games every afternoon,” said a YMCA Horizons parent. “The counselors are also more like his close friends but are also very well in control. He is now doing so well socially that he has broken through some amazing walls. I give YMCA the credit for that.”

Depending on what reopening plans schools are operating under this school year, Y Horizons will provide a combination of in-person and virtual enrichment. Registration opens later this fall for the program, which will begin in October. For more information, please visit ymcawnc.org/academics.