A grant from the Robert and Lilas Dohr Current Community Needs Fund within the Community Foundation is helping to provide a school supply packet to each student and supplies for each school site for active play at YMCA Fox Cities. The organization is operating at three childcare centers in Appleton and Neenah, serving children of health care and other essential workers during the pandemic crisis, and has also received grants from the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. (All photos courtesy of YMCA)
By Danielle Englebert, Chief Operating Officer YMCA of the Fox Cities
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow and Forever the YMCA is here for our communities. Our YMCA responded during the State of Wisconsin shutdown in the spring to assist families of essential and healthcare workers with childcare.
The Y continues to provide early childhood care (infant to age 6) for parents who cannot work from home, in addition to the children of essential and healthcare workers.
Today, we respond to the needs of parents with school age children with variations of care to assist with their family’s situations and circumstances. For families with in-person schooling, we provide 4K Wraparound care, and before and after school care. For those students learning virtually, we created the Classroom Connections program, which can be adapted for full- or partial-virtual schedules. Our Classroom Connections program was initially established to accommodate an Appleton Area School District request to serve a small portion of their elementary student body who had financial, academic or care needs.
Many of these families do not have an adult at home who could guide their student through their academic schedule. This collaboration is currently serving 629 students from 11 schools in the district. Classroom Connections combines the resources of the school district and YMCA staff leadership to respond to student needs.
Other groups have since stepped up to serve the need in the community. Child Care Resource and Referral championed a grant from the Robert and Lilas Dohr Current Community Needs Fund within the Community Foundation to provide a school supply packet to each student and supplies for each school site for active play.
The Classroom Connection program model is also being utilized when other local school districts temporarily suspend in-person classes and then pivot back to in-person learning. Most recently, the Y plans to offer Classroom Connections to the Neenah Joint School District elementary students when that district moves to a Wednesday virtual-only model. This program will be offered at the Neenah-Menasha YMCA for families who have no supervision at home for virtual learning and the YMCA staff will guide them through the day.
The Y continues to respond to pressing family needs through our early childhood care programs, added traditional before and after school care and the creation of the Classroom Connection for today’s students which can adapted to tomorrows needs. The YMCA has been part of the Fox Cities community for 132 years and will forever be on the front lines of caring for children and families.