LIVINGSTON, NJ – While the new school year may look different than before, one thing remains the same: the YMCA’s after school program continues to be a place where children can remain active, learning and engaged during their time out of school – a critical time for all school-age children, especially as they continue to adjust to the many changes related to COVID-19. Each year, the Y works to provide engaging activities in a caring and safe environment before and after school, and this year will be no different. 

“The Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges has served the community for 135 years, during which we have made it through many challenging times together, none perhaps as impactful as COVID-19,” said Richard K. Gorab, President and CEO of the Metro YMCAs. “As an organization dedicated to youth development, we know how important it is that our children have a safe and enriching environment for learning, both in and out of school. We are pleased to be able to provide this space to the children in our communities, allowing their social, emotional, physical and academic growth to continue long after the school day ends.” 

The Y’s after school program has provided care for thousands of children. Through a balanced approach to youth development, the program offers activities, mentorship and academic support, nurturing the potential of all participants throughout the school year. Financial assistance is available to ensure every child and teen has the opportunity to learn and grow at the Y.

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The Y is modifying its after school schedule to better support families when their children are learning virtually full-time or using a rotating in-school/remote learning schedule. Participants in the program will be able to visit the Y before or after school when their classes are on-site and can attend the Y when classes are held virtually.

The Y recognizes that not all school districts will have the same model for learning in the new school year, and we are working locally with districts to determine how we can support the needs of children and parents. As each school district modifies or finalizes plans, the Y will adapt so that our child care programs can best serve local families.

In order to help keep kids and staff healthy and safe throughout the school year, the Y is following CDC, state and local requirements and guidelines, has adapted several changes to its day-to-day operations, including:

  • Mask requirements for staff and children

  • Daily health screenings for children and staff

  • Reduced capacity in group activities

  • Snack time served in “pods” 

  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting 

  • More frequent hand-washing breaks

  • Required training for staff on new procedures

For more information and to sign up for the Y’s after school program visit metroymcas.org.

About the Y

Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges invests in its diverse communities to promote wellness, safety and quality of life for children, adults and seniors. Its seven branches in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hackensack, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility through an array of programs. Some 35,000 people belong to the Metro Y, which awards more than $2.8 million annually in direct and indirect financial assistance.