A new school year is filled with potential— a chance to start new routines and habits, build new friendships and discover new possibilities and interests. It’s an exciting time for many kids; however, at the end of the school day, one in five children do not have someone to care for them after school, according to Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness organization.

As families are transitioning from summer to fall, the Botetourt Family YMCA is offering programs to school-aged children attending Cloverdale, Breckinridge, Greenfield, and Troutville Elementary Schools and Read Mountain and Central Academy Middle Schools to keep youth active, busy and engaged during out-of-school time. Through a well-rounded approach to youth development, the Y’s programs offers activities in a caring and safe environment during the critical hours after school. Whether through enrichment, mentorship, or academic support, the Y nurtures the potential of youth throughout the school year.

“Over 11 million children are unsupervised between 3 and 6 p.m., an essential time to help increase children’s success in school,” said Tricia Reynolds, Regional Director of the YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge. “Y After School programs are an opportunity for families to ensure their kids are receiving additional support, continued learning and a chance to participate in meaningful activities that can inspire children’s motivations and help them reach their potential.”

The Y believes the way a child spends their time after school can make a big difference in their personal development and family-life balance. This year they will be introducing a robust enrichment curriculum at their elementary school sites all based around monthly themes.

“We believe the values and skills learned early on are vital building blocks for life,” said Reynolds. “As a working parent, I understand there is not always time to fit in extra activities at the end of the day, so we are bringing programming directly to the children providing them the opportunity to explore their unique talents and interests.”

The Y will also be launching a new program, Y Pass, this school year for middle school students attending Read Mountain and Central Academy Middle Schools. Students enrolled in this program can be active through gym activities and swimming, socialize with peers, and receive homework help.

“Y Pass is a great option for parents that want their children to stay busy after the school day in a safe and nurturing environment,” said Reynolds. “Enrichment opportunities will also be incorporated into this program for children to take advantage of.”

For more information on Y After School or Y Pass programs, visit www.ymcavbr.org or call the Botetourt Family YMCA at 966-9622.