Across Botetourt County, students have returned to school on a hybrid schedule of in-person and online learning, leaving many parents to figure out how they will balance work responsibilities while caring for kids who are not in school full time. In an effort to offer a solution to this challenge, the Botetourt Family YMCA has opened an enrichment center to support area families.
The program runs from 7 a.m.-6 p.m., with the first half of the day set up like a normal school day. Each student has a designated space for learning with Y staff and volunteers available to assist students with their daily work. In the afternoon, children participate in enrichment activities, physical activity, and outdoor play.
Although running virtual learning centers is new territory for the Y, caring for children and providing academic support for elementary-aged children is a long-standing program. In a normal school year, the Y provides after-school programming for over 80 children in partnership with Botetourt County elementary schools.
“We knew that childcare was going to be a great need this school year and have been planning for months on how we can best adapt our program to support both families and children,” said Mark Johnson YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge President and CEO. “We want to do whatever we can to prevent children from being at home by themselves.”
Since early in the pandemic, the Y has been caring for children. In March it opened Camp Hope, providing care for children of essential workers and in May kicked off the annual summer camp program.
Space is still available at the Botetourt Family YMCA Enrichment Center and financial assistance is available for those in need. For more information on this program visit, www.ymcavbr.org or call 966-9622.