OST 2020 | West Suburban YMCA

The WSYMCA's Out-of-School Time Program Provides Relief for Working Families

Dec 08, 2020

In 2020, the Y's Out-of-School Time program evolved from a traditional afterschool to a full-day program geared toward supporting kids and families during remote school hours. Students complete their school work with close supervision from the Y’s staff, get active on the field and in the gym, and have the opportunity to interact with peers. The program provides critical structure to their days and allows parents to attend to their professional and other responsibilities.  Shu-Yee and Matthew Freake are parents of a kindergartener in the program, and shared their experience with us:

"Our six year old son has been in the kindergarten group at the Y’s Out-of-School Time program on Mondays and Tuesdays from 8am to 4:30pm this fall. This is our first experience with this program at the Y or any program similar to this.

The prospect of our son beginning kindergarten during such an unusual year was overwhelming. We did not believe we could properly manage having our son at home for remote school days, giving him the attention he needs while managing our own jobs. In addition, the social impact spending time with other kids his age was a huge motivator for us to ask for his participation in this program. The Y's record of safety during summer activities gave us confidence we could safely have our son in a program where he could receive a much greater developmental program than we could provide at home.

While the help with his schooling has been wonderful - getting onto remote classes and performing offline activities - the additional resources available at the Y have been instrumental for his growth and development. He loves getting to socialize with other children, getting to play outside away from home, and do sports and other activities. Having other adults to guide him and learn from is also a great developmental aide, especially because so many of his teachers at preschool and kindergarten are female so having both strong male and female role models is a great experience for him.

Every time when we pick him up, he is eager to share the exciting and fun experiences he had, such as learning/playing a new game, interesting stories that his friends shared, or some cool tricks the staff has taught him when he is accessing Seesaw classroom on his iPad. We have seen him throughout this fall to be more independent, confident, and have a strong sense of community.

Participating in the Y’s program has given us a tremendous sense of relief, as we know he is able to learn and socialize in a much greater way than we could provide. At home we would all be more stressed and unhappy with what we were trying to manage. The Y has given all of us a great way to be able to focus on what we need while balancing our professional (or educational) and familial needs."

The Y’s Annual Fund enables families from all economic backgrounds to participate in the Out-of-School Time Program. To learn more about how to give, visit donate.wsymca.org/GiveWSYMCA.