On May 21, Y-USA hosted a virtual briefing for Congressional staff with several other youth-serving organizations. Y-USA’s Heidi Brasher and YMCA of the Triangle’s Kim Keith, VP of Youth Development, shared the Y’s work and the impact of out-of-school-time providers during COVID-19.
“I was honored to share the impact of COVID on YMCAs and other youth serving nonprofits at the virtual Congressional briefing last month. Ensuring that decision makers understand how our YMCAs have responded to the needs in our communities and the importance of our work, especially in youth development, is so important to me,” Keith said. “I got emotional at the end of my presentation talking about how much I believe in our work. It is truly life changing for our communities (and for us as staff!) Incredibly thankful for the opportunity and so, so proud to share the good work of our YMCAs.”
Keith, who began her Y career 20 year ago as an afterschool counselor, shared that Y of the Triangle launched the YMCA Learning Lab, a program where Y staff virtually meet with students to help them with school assignments while parents are working and taking care of other needs. The Y also started the Ready4School program, a virtual kindergarten readiness program to help ensure children who are missing the last few months of preschools are prepared to enter kindergarten successfully.
Like many Ys, Keith’s staff have been exploring how to support the social and emotional needs of children and families at summer day camp and how to teach children to interact with peers and solve conflicts with them, given that they have not been in contact with children for a long time.
Keith shared that she represents not only the Triangle but all NC YMCAs and those across the nation in her remarks, and that all Ys are committed to serving their communities in need and want to serve as a partner. With government funding, Ys can continue to fill the gaps and serve those most vulnerable.