YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A new survey shows high demand for after-school programs in both Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Nikki Murray, the youth and teen director at the YMCA of Youngstown, said these programs not only improve students’ grades, but also help them get exercise and socialize with others.
Both the Davis YMCA and the Central YMCA have programs to serve kids in Mahoning County. Murray said they pre-test their kids’ learning levels and are able to track their progress.
“We have students who were writing below grade level that are improving in our classrooms, doing better at spelling and liking different subjects,” said Murray. “We want to have the kids have fun, but a big part of this is the enrichment that we offer. We’re always helping with homework, kids are basically getting one-on-one tutoring.”
The benefits are greater than just academic. She said that the swimming pool on-site and interacting with other kids is especially important if kids have been in remote learning situations.
A new survey by the Afterschool Alliance shows that these benefits lead to high demand for these kinds of programs.
In Ohio, for every one child in an after school program, there are five waiting for a spot.
There are over 800,000 kids in the state that would participate in after school programs if one was available to them.
The demand is a little lower in Pennsylvania.
For every kid in a program, there are four children waiting for a spot.
A bit over 775,000 Pennsylvania children aren’t currently in an after school program and would otherwise participate.
Murray said that the programs at the YMCA of Youngstown locations are often near capacity but haven’t reached it yet. She thinks this is in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Murray said they’ve had to change a few things in light of that but are still working to keep the programs as safe as possible for the kids.
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