8 months after possible closure, after school care at half capacity

A child in Greene County’s after school program works on a puzzle.

It was late February of this year when county officials first started discussions of closing the after-school and summer child care programs. The programs were in danger of closing by the end of March, but managed to stay in operation until the end of the 2018-19 school year.

Citing rising costs, staffing concerns and increasing regulations, the Greene County Board of Supervisors shuttered the program in a 4-1 vote – leaving parents in a bind to find after-school and summer care.

That’s when Greene County Public Schools Superintendent Andrea Whitmarsh reached out to the Piedmont Family YMCA in Charlottesville. The YMCA has been operating after-school care for students at Nathanael Greene Primary and Elementary schools, as well as Ruckersville Elementary School, since the start of this school year. The after-school program had previously been operated by the county since its inception in 1990.

Executive Director Roderick Howard said the transition to Greene was seamless.

“We’ve been doing after-school programs; this is just a different area for it. It’s just getting to know the community and getting to know the school,” he said.

Two months into their new domain at Ruckersville Elementary, the YMCA after-school program serves approximately 45 students and has the capacity to serve 100. Students from Nathanael Greene Primary and Elementary schools are bused to Ruckersville Elementary for the program at no additional charge. The Piedmont Family YMCA also offers discounted rates for those who receive free and reduced lunches and for those with siblings.

“A lot of parents really needed some sort of after-school program for the kids and something that’s affordable, too,” Bonita Patton, senior youth and family director, said. “With the Y, we are for all. No one will be turned away. No matter what your circumstances, we are able to help you from that standpoint.”

Patton said the Piedmont Family YMCA provides a safe, fun, educational and engaging after-school environment for students.

“It’s a safe place where your child will be nurtured. They’ll have a learning experience, they’ll meet new friends and build relationships,” she said. “Because we are the Y, we have the opportunity to bring the Y to them. A lot of people can’t go out to Charlottesville. We want to bring as much opportunity here as possible.”

While the organization has no set details yet, it recently said it plans to bring a 10-week summer program to Greene County.

For more information on the after-school program, visit www.piedmontymca.org.

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