YMCA Childcare: Building a Better Future
Out of school learning loss. New educational models. Increased support needs for working families. Social isolation. A lack of role models. A public health crisis.
In this turbulent time, youth and families – and employers – need the Y more than ever. The Y makes programs and services accessible to the whole community. We collaborate with school systems and education partners to support the academic success of every student and develop the next generation of leaders. We make it possible for parents to work while their kids learn, grow and thrive.
There will be a significant increase in the number of children, adults and families who need YMCA programs and services and financial assistance in the coming months. We are more committed than ever to improving community health, increasing equitable access, and supporting academic achievement for all.
A trusted partner in education
The YMCA is recognized as a national leader in safe, supportive, and nurturing childcare that emphasizes social-emotional learning, physical activity, and healthy eating. As the largest provider of licensed school-age childcare in the state, the YMCA of WNC…
- provides afterschool care for intermediate and elementary school students in Buncombe, Henderson and McDowell counties
- has 27 school-based licensed afterschool centers and three youth development centers
- serves more than 1,400 students a year
- has been a bridge between school and home life for almost 15 years
The Y’s new full-day programs complement a child’s learning experience with staff working closely with students to support their academic goals and social-emotional development.
Meeting needs during COVID-19 and beyond
When schools closed in the spring, the Y’s team of childcare experts offered parents and caregivers daily resources for academic study, physical play, mental well-being, and healthy nutrition. The Y has provided safe, high-quality childcare for our community each day since mid-March – including emergency childcare and summer day camp. As schools prepare to reopen, the Y is expanding programs and access.
- During a typical school year, the Y provides more than $1.2 million in financial assistance to low-income families who don’t qualify for childcare vouchers.
- Parents who rely on school for childcare during the day haven’t budgeted for and cannot afford full-day care. We anticipate at least another $600,000 in financial assistance requests over the next several months.
- The Y’s operating costs have increased by 30% for additional staff and safety precautions.
- Since mid-March, the Y has served more than 61,000 healthy meals and distributed more than 150,000 pounds of fresh produce to children and families in the region.
Bridging the gap
The pandemic is widening the achievement gap in ways that have yet to be measured. During a typical summer, students can lose up to 50% of math and reading skills from the previous year. The percentage spikes in students from low-income and socially underprivileged populations.
The YMCA childcare population includes:
- 30% who receive state childcare vouchers
- 20% who rely on YMCA financial assistance
- 40% or more from single-parent homes, predominantly single moms
- A higher percentage of racial minorities than the general population
Without access to quality programming, our community’s most vulnerable children will be left behind during this extended educational crisis.
Why it matters to you
The YMCA of Western North Carolina has been providing a lifeline to the community’s most vulnerable children during the pandemic. Facing a 60% decline in operational revenue and the inability to fully reopen, the Y is facing the possibility of being unable to continue serving our youth with educational enrichment, nutritious meals and social interactions.
- Workforce development
Parents returning to work need safe childcare options, close to home, that focus on their child’s academic achievement. Reliable childcare gives them the support they need to be productive and help the economy recover. To be a safe space for parents returning to uncertainty in the workplace, children dealing with trauma, and schools working to find the best solutions for students, the YMCA needs your support.
- Gender parity
Childcare is a top concern for working moms, many of whom are less likely to remain in the workforce without safe, reliable, affordable, and high-quality options for their children during the school day. To offer childcare that gives these women peace of mind, ensures job security, and prevents career regression, the YMCA needs your support.
- Racial equity and inclusion
This pandemic has disproportionately affected minority youth by widening the achievement gap and infecting their families at a higher rate. Black and LatinX communities are the most affected by the pandemic and systemic barriers to educational success. To provide equitable childcare solutions, the YMCA needs your support.
- Kids’ Resilience and Well-Being
The pandemic is challenging children in ways we have yet to understand. YMCA childcare is the support system they need to build resilience, learn coping skills, and make social connections. Y kids are learning how to develop the grit they need to survive this crisis and to thrive later in life.
Together we can be the community organization that bridges these widening gaps, but we cannot do it without you. Help us avert the childcare crisis and build a better future for our children and families.
Other ways to be involved
In addition to making a financial commitment, there are may ways you can help us build a better future for kids:
- Advocate for the Y with elected officials at the state and federal level
- Encourage local elected officials to make safe, affordable childcare a priority
- Volunteers are needed at childcare sites to greet children, do health screenings, serve meals, assist with schoolwork, and more
- Sign up to join local conversations to advance this effort