YMCA after-school program receives grant

The A.J. McClung YMCA in Columbus has been awarded an $11,000 grant from the JCPenney Afterschool Fund to support an after-school program.

The fund is a charitable organization committed to provide children in need with access to life-enriching after-school programs that foster academic, physical and social development, according to a news release.

In addition, the J.C. Penney Company will provide 19 gift cards to help purchase school clothing and supplies.

"The YMCA is grateful for the generous support...," said Ernestine Ramsey, YMCA branch director. "We strive to serve as many children as possible with high-quality after-school programming, and thanks to their commitment, we are able to introduce more students to a world of opportunities by involving them in a safe, affordable program. It is one of the most important programs we offer, as studies show that youth are at a greater risk of involvement in crime, drug abuse and other destructive behavior between 3 and 6 p.m. each day."

Similar grants and gift card donations were made to 319 other YMCAs around the United States. This year, the J.C. Penney Company and the fund will provide gifts to YMCAs exceeding $3.9 million.