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YMCA has long history of providing after-school programs in Columbus

Sage Fitz swims laps at the John P. Thayer YMCA in downtown Columbus in April 2010.
Sage Fitz swims laps at the John P. Thayer YMCA in downtown Columbus in April 2010.

The Ledger-Enquirer recently published a story about the need for more affordable after-school programs in Columbus.

There are several organizations in the city trying to address that problem, and one such agency is the YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus.

“The YMCA has offered after-school programs long before there was a parks and recreation, a Boys and Girls Club, a Girls Inc. or a Columbus Community Center,” said Ernestine Ramsey, branch manager of the John P. Thayer and the A.J. McClung YMCA branches. “The first after-school programs were called ‘latchkey’ after-school programs.”

The YMCA provides after-school as well as summer-day camp services, Ramsey said. In the after-school program, the organization picks up elementary and middle school children from school, five days a week, and then takes them to a YMCA center where they receive a hot meal.

“We do homework assistance,” Ramsey said. “We also have a computer tutorial component. We have a reading program. We take them to the library, and we provide sports and recreational activities. We also have a mentoring programs.”

She said the program is quality rated and Bright from the Start certified, which means the organization is required to allot a certain amount of time for each activity.

The after-school program is available at the A.J. McClung and D.A. Turner branches. The A.J. McClung branch has 50 children enrolled with 10 families on the waiting list. D.A. Turner has about 176 children and a waiting list of about 20.

The rates at A.J. McClung are $40 per week for a single child with a $10 discount for each additional child in the family. At the D.A. Turner branch, there are different rates for members and non-members. The member rate is $65 per week for the first child and the non-member rate is $75. There’s a $30 application fee at A.J. McClung and a $35 registration fee at D.A. Turner.

Despite such services, there’s still a need in the community for more after-school programs. The Enrichment Services Program recently released a report, which pointed out a shortage of affordable after-school programs in the community.

For more information about services available at the YMCA, go to www.columbusymca.com.

Alva James-Johnson: 706-571-8.521, @amjreporter

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