YMCA of Coastal Georgia Receives Grants From YMCA of the USA
to Expand Early Childhood and Afterschool Programs For Local Hispanic and Latino Families
[SAVANNAH, January 13, 2012] – YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the resource office for the nation’s 2,700 YMCAs, has awarded the YMCA of Coastal Georgia two grants totaling $350,000 to expand its afterschool programs for Hispanic and Latino families residing in the Greater Savannah community.
The grants will also help the Y further develop its early learning readiness model to better support Hispanic family members, friends, and neighbors who serve as informal caregivers of young children.
The YMCA of Coastal Georgia is one of six YMCAs in Georgia to receive grants as part of a larger gift from The Goizueta Foundation to Y-USA. This funding will enhance the Y’s “Welcoming Hispanic Families to YMCA Early Childhood Education and Care” pilot project, which will be implemented at the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, as well as two additional Y program sites in Georgia from 2007-2010.
“We are so grateful to the Goizueta Foundation for its ongoing support and guidance in helping the Hispanic and Latino families in our community so significantly,” said Audrey Rodriquez, YMCA of Coastal Georgia Youth Development Director. “With this generous grant, we can continue to lift up early childhood education as one of our key program areas to ensure that all of the kids we serve have the skills and tools they need for academic success.”
Through the Welcoming Hispanic Families pilot project, the Y tested and developed a variety of methods and tools to better serve the Hispanic children and families, including bilingual materials for the community, new cultural competency trainings for staff and a comprehensive resource toolkit designed for distribution to Ys throughout the country. The result was the development of a successful model of center-based childcare and early education for Hispanic and Latino children from birth to age five.
Learnings from the pilot project indicated the need for even further support for families and children throughout the state beyond age five, and outside the walls of traditional center-based programs. Among the findings of those who participated in the project:
Hispanic/Latino families often place a strong importance on family members supporting one another and have a cultural tendency to keep young children at home, rather than place them in a traditional child care setting.
Often, Hispanic/Latino families distinguish between the role of the parent (to provide moral upbringing) and the role of the teacher (to provide an academic education). As a result, some Hispanic/Latino parents are unaware that children are expected to have so many school-readiness skills upon entering kindergarten and first grade. Newer immigrants are less likely to have a trusted person with whom to leave their children and are often limited in their choice of informal home-care providers.
To address these cultural trends, YMCA of Coastal Georgia will use this additional funding from Y-USA to support two distinct yet interrelated programs:
A grant of $175,000 will be used to implement the YMCA Afterschool Extension Program, to broaden the Y’s reach to include older children ages 5-8 in afterschool initiatives through an expanded Welcoming Hispanic Families .
A second grant of $175,000 will be used to implement the YMCA Early Learning Readiness Model, extends support to family, friends and neighbors who serve as informal caregivers of young children by providing activities and resources that focus on early cognitive development.
These programs will eventually expand to Ys across the country.
For more information about the YMCA programming and memberships, please call (912) 354-5480 or visit Ymcaofcoastalga.org