Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Awards $1,398,244 Grant to YMCA of Greater Kansas City

The YMCA of Greater Kansas City recently received a grant for $1,398,244 from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education21st Century Community Learning Centers to deliver high-quality academic afterschool programming (Y Club) at two locations within the Center School District in Kansas City, Missouri. This includes enhanced before/afterschool programming at the Red Bridge Elementary School (a 21st CCLC site in Cohort 8 with enhanced behavioral and social-emotional learning supports) and the establishment of a new afterschool program for sixth graders at Center Middle School where no program has ever existed.

The Y will hire certified teachers as tutors to deliver individualized and small-group tutoring. The program will supplement tutoring with regular doses of academic enrichment activities utilizing a blend of evidence-based curriculum, disguised learning, and exposure to new ideas and experiences through clubs, group activities, and field trips. Youth and families will have access to staff trained in positive youth development, social-emotional learning, and behavior modification. This staff will implement weekly curriculum modules (also evidence-based) and offer periodic workshops or information at family events to address topics of interest expressed by parents including how to support their child’s mental health.

Participation in Y club provides daily opportunities for youth to learn skills and develop social self-efficacy. Youth voice and choice is a guiding principle and youth are empowered by staff to communicate with one other to make decisions, work through problems, share opinions, make choices about clubs in which they want to engage, and participate in peer leadership opportunities such as Youth/Student Council. Youth will have regular opportunities to gain awareness and skills that will prepare them to recognize and build upon their strengths to mitigate challenges, build resilience and build assets that will help them in their immediate situations and for their futures. Standing and rotating clubs and activities – as well as project-based learning focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) – will engage youth in project-based and disguised learning opportunities. Middle school youth will participate in evidence-based curriculum modules that build awareness and understanding about key components of college and career readiness including academics, life skills, positive relationships, college knowledge, and positive identity. At least one field trip will focus on college awareness and include a visit to a local university.

The Y’s inclusion of behavior support staff (i.e. Specialist and Coach) are innovative elements in the Y’s project design. Objective data from the school’s risk screening tools, staff feedback, as well as adult and child survey responses clearly called for a behavioral health strategy in Y Club. These dedicated staff provide training and coaching for staff and families, deliver social-emotional learning curriculum, and implement an Individual Success Plan protocol to help ensure all youth succeed in the Y Club environment.

The YMCA of Greater Kansas City (the Kansas City Y) was founded in 1860. Founded as the seventh YMCA in the North American YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) movement, the Kansas City Y has over 158 years of experience in meeting the holistic needs of community members of all ages.  The Y improves the quality of people’s lives by helping them develop healthy habits; helping children connect to caring adults through sports and youth development programs; and by providing opportunities to meet new people and serve the community. The Kansas City Y impacts more than 140,000 unique individuals annually at 13 membership centers and 100 program sites serving Jackson, Clay, and Platte counties in Missouri, and Wyandotte and Johnson counties in Kansas.

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