Julie Bianco: The value of the YMCA’s after-school programs

Published: 9/1/2021 11:25:00 AM

We’re writing to share important information about the Hampshire Regional YMCA’s school age child care program.

The YMCA proudly offers Department of Early Education and Care-licensed (EEC) child care programs at three elementary schools in Northampton: R.K. Finn Ryan Road, Bridge Street and Jackson Street. Leeds Elementary School runs their own afterschool program.

On Aug. 12, the School Committee voted to have the school obtain an EEC license for Leeds Elementary and explore the option of each school operating its own child care beginning next fall. The Y has been operating child care programs in Northampton schools for over 29 years. In 2020, when schools were remote, the YMCA provided necessary resources by creating virtual programming, opening three summer camps, and a remote classroom program, ensuring children in need had support and care during the pandemic.

We are proud to have EEC licensure to ensure quality of care for the children we serve. The Y child care program currently provides options for two, three or five days of care. The addition of an hour to accommodate school schedule changes this year adjusted fees by $1. The Y does not offer a drop-in or hourly program due to a variety of factors, including staffing ratios. Families pay a monthly fee, which averages between $4.60 and $5 an hour. The YMCA offers financial aid and eligible families may also receive state vouchers. The Y works closely with families to ensure they have access to care regardless of income level.

The YMCA is the largest provider of child care in the country and we are proud to carry on this tradition. However, due to the recent school committee vote, the Y program may not be sustained beyond this school year. We encourage stakeholders to consider all of the facts in order to make informed decisions.

The Hampshire Regional YMCA has been a valued community resource for over 140 years, as we strive to support local families in fulfillment of our mission to strengthen community. We value our partnership with local families and look forward to ensuring child care needs are met for years to come.

Julie Bianco and
Kristel Applebee

Hampshire Regional YMCA

Bianco is the CEO of the Hampshire Regional YMCA. Applebee is the chair of the board, is writing on behalf of the YMCA board of directors.



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