During the month of August, many communities across the nation are immersed in the back-to-school season, and this year, many are grappling with new challenges posed by COVID-19. With students around the globe facing the effects of the covid learning slide, increased social challenges, as well as lockdowns and disruptions to the educational calendar, it is critical that we support our youth and families in this upcoming school year. Since 1868, YWCA has provided early childcare programs promoting child development and school readiness, and today we are proud to serve over 200,000 kids annually through child care, Head Start, and Pre-K programs. We also offer wholesome and comprehensive programming, serving youth grades K-12, with an emphasis on engaging educational curriculum, youth empowerment initiatives, leadership development, and social justice. Connected by the mission to empower women and their families, all of these YWCA initiatives are designed to support youth and ensure they thrive in their schools, communities, and beyond.
YWCAs across the nation are at the forefront of early childhood education and out-of-school programs. Below are just a few examples of how our local YWCAs are making it possible for our youth to return strong this school year.
At YWCA Adams County, their collection of Youth Outreach and Education Programs provide youth and their families the support kids need to get back to school despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic. The Youth Leadership Academy provides high school students the opportunity to meet with community leaders from all areas of society, a space to focus on developing leadership skills, and nurtures a life-long commitment to community service. In YW Girls, K-5th grade girls are empowered by an emphasis on kindness, self-care, and inner confidence. Their Girls In Action program offers space for middle schoolers to have fun while also discussing important topics such as healthy relationships, building self-esteem, and conflict resolution.
YWCA Greater Los Angeles also offers a variety of child development programs and youth services, powered by the PEARL® curriculum principles of prevention, empowerment, academics, recreation, and leadership. With this goal in mind, YWCA Greater Los Angeles developed a free Afterschool Program focused on academic assistance, enrichment, and recreation as well as a Youth Club that focuses on youth violence prevention and includes activities such as peer mediation training, contests and classroom work, self-defense classes, and an annual Anti-Violence Conference for young girls. They also offer Techgyrls to raise interest, confidence, and competence in technology among under-served girls; Girls, Women $ to foster economic literacy and empowerment among mothers and daughters; and their Girls Advisory Board to encourage leadership development and community advocacy.
YWCA New Britain is a leader in quality care and education for children, offering comprehensive, affordable, convenient child care in their safe, stimulating, and inviting atmosphere. STRIVE is a middle school youth empowerment program they developed to provide female identifying and non-binary youth a safe and comfortable environment where everyone can learn and have fun! They also provide high school students in their community with a “home away from home” in YWCA New Britain’s House of Teens. This afterschool program designed for female identifying and non-binary youth ages 13 to 19 offers teens a variety of activities dedicated to helping them accomplish their personal goals and gain the confidence and independence they need to be future leaders.
Due to the exemplary work of YWCAs like these across our network, youth and their families have been supported throughout the pandemic and are well positioned to tackle the challenges of the upcoming school year. Our YWCA network will remain strong and continue providing educational, empowering, and engaging out-of-school programming despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic.
To learn more about the services we offer and how you can get involved, find the local YWCA in your community.