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What happens after the school bell rings?

In support of its mission to improve the lives of children in need, the YMCA launched a new after-school program, YMCA Beyond the Bell on October 15th at A.A.Wright Public School in Wallaceburg.

YMCA Beyond the Bell is a new and exciting academic-based program that takes a holistic approach to the wellbeing of every child. By emphasizing literacy, numeracy, recreation, homework help and values education year-round, YMCA Beyond the Bell helps to close the achievement gap experienced by low-income children compared to their middle-income classmates.

Targeting children in Grades 2-3, YMCA Beyond the Bell provides the additional help kids need to keep pace with their grade level and their peers, within a safe and supportive learning environment. The program occurs after the school bell rings and is delivered by supportive, qualified YMCA staff leaders who act as positive role models, helping each student develop self confidence and experience new opportunities.

Ben Hazzard, A.A. Wright School Principal agrees, stating “this program mixes academic support with recreation, which, from a school perspective is a great idea. Students are excited to be in a fun environment that supports their school work challenges. Our A.A. Wright community is thankful for this partnership with the YMCA; it helps our students.”

Funding provided by the United Way and individual local donors, allows the YMCA to offer this program at no cost to children in need. The 3-year pilot program requires $45,000 in funding to support each Sept-June session and $25,000 to support a summer program. YMCA Beyond the Bell in Wallaceburg currently has 10 children and has reached the program’s capacity for 2014, but will expand to 20 children in January 2015. The YMCA has plans to offer this program in more local schools, but must rely on donations and sponsors to fund the program.

Photo caption: From left to right: Student Stella Smith-Pinnance, YMCA Beyond the Bell Educator Robin Founk, and student Alex Vyvey practice reading skills at the new Beyond the Bell program at A.A. Wright Public School in Wallaceburg.

About the YMCA

The Y is a charitable organization dedicated to serving our community through the development of all people in spirit, mind and body, regardless of their ability to pay. The Y reaches out to children and families throughout the community to provide opportunities they might otherwise never have. Through programs and services, the Y provides the recreational, learning and life-enriching experiences that build healthy communities.