Parents all over the city are still figuring out how to balance work responsibilities while also caring for their children who are in school. The Salem YMCA, in an effort to offer a solution in these challenging times, has opened an enrichment center to support area families.
The center runs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the first half of the day set up like a normal school day. Students will have a designated space for learning with Y staff and volunteers available to assist them with their daily work. Afternoons will be structured more like the camp programs as children will be able to participate in various enrichment activities, physical tasks and outdoor play.
“Once we learned that many schools in our area were going to a hybrid schedule, we knew we had to come up with a solution to not only provide childcare for working parents but also assist children with their virtual learning because it was going to be a great need for the community,” Brittany Madonna, Vice President of Marketing & Communications for YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge, said.
The Y is the largest non-profit childcare provider in the Roanoke Valley. Financial support, according to Madonna, is available for those who need it.
“The YMCA is a non-profit charitable organization and provides financial assistance to those unable to pay the standard rate,” she said. “Additional information on this program, required documentation and an application are available on our website www.ymcavbr.org. People can also contact the Salem Family YMCA for more information.”
In March, the Salem Y opened Camp Hope, which provided care for children of essential workers. In May, the Y kicked off its annual summer camp program. Today, the enrichment center is serving approximately two dozen children on a weekly basis.
“We are looking for staff to help support the children in our enrichment center and after school programs. This is a great opportunity to not only impact the life of a child but also give back to the community,” Madonna said. “We plan on offering our enrichment center as long as schools are operating on a hybrid schedule and the need is there.”
Roanoke County resident James Lewis sent his daughter to the Y’s After School Program. “A good friend of mine recommended I do so after we had an in-depth conversation. My daughter ended up loving it as did I. It’s abundantly clear that the Y personnel care about all of the children involved in their programs,” he said.