YMCA after-school programs return to South DeKalb

Ga. Sen. Emanuel Jones announced a plan to mitigate learning loss and to bolster youth achievement for low-income families in South DeKalb through a partnership with YMCA of Metro Atlanta.

The senator said the partnership between the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, the state of Georgia, and the Department of Family and Child Services will focus on providing out-of-school activities for low-income Black, Indigenous and people of color families in South DeKalb.

“This investment underscores our unwavering commitment to youth of South DeKalb. By providing these programs, we aim to address learning loss, prioritize social-emotional development, and create pathways for both academic success and personal growth,” said Jones.

South DeKalb YMCA officials announced that thanks to an investment spearheaded by Jones, the facility relaunched the Y Explore Afterschool Program and Club on Oct. 30 and will be providing additional out- of-school programs such as Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) and holiday camps.

A news release states that the Y Explore Afterschool program focuses on serving middle school youth and will provide summer enrichment programming to children from kindergarten through 10th grade, as well as opportunities for teen employment.

The news release states that Y Explore Afterschool and SAIL programs will:

  • Provide learning loss support while prioritizing social-emotional development and well-being through after-school enrichment.
  • Provide academic specialists including counselors to execute high-quality youth achievement programming.
  • Provide cutting-edge STEAM programming.
  • Provide in-house field trips and specialty programs through partnerships with several community youth serving organizations – PALS, STEAM Truck, Zoo Atlanta, and other local organizations.
  • Advance school-aged children who are at risk of falling behind academically through participation in the SAIL program by “sparking a passion for learning through interactive, hands- on academic activities.”
  • Provide a safe and engaging environment for youth through summer and holiday day camps via “opportunities to explore the outdoors, make lasting friendships, build self-esteem, and develop interpersonal skills and leadership qualities.”

South DeKalb YMCA also announced that it entered a partnership with the nearby Anchor Charter School, but officials said the programs offered by the YMCA will not be limited to Anchor’s families.

South DeKalb YMCA was the first YMCA in metro Atlanta to offer afterschool programs and was believed by many of its members to be on the verge of closing in 2021. Some protestors of the potential closing said the facility lost funding—including for educational programs—and membership during the pandemic.

South DeKalb YMCA also offers its members access to a computer lab, a fitness center, gyms, outdoor fields, pools, event rooms, and courses in early learning, family strengthening, sports, and other areas.

For more information about South DeKalb YMCA or to sign up for its programs, visit ymcaatlanta.org or call (770) 987-3500.

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