EARLY YEARS: YMCA among several affordable options for after school care
The hours between school dismissal and dinner time are crucial for keeping kids safe and engaged.
Once summer camps are over, the YMCA of Virginia's Blue Ridge also provides after-school care for children of working parents. And they often don't have to leave school to get it.
"Our After School programming is primarily in the school system. We believe if we have the opportunity not to have to bus and transport, it's safer for the children," says YMCA of Virginia's Blue Ridge President and CEO Mark Johnson.
The Y's After School program is in Roanoke City schools, Botetourt county schools, Rockbridge and Salem schools. It provides kids a nutritious snack, plenty of movement to burn off energy, and homework time.
I know one of the things that our parents tell us is we love it when our kids come home, and we can spend family time -- and doing homework together's great- but if you can do other things, it's important," says Johnson.
Johnson says the YMCA offers enrichment for kids to learn skills or try activities that are new for them.
"We've got this group of kids and we can do interesting STEM activities that maybe they haven't done, or get First Tee to come over and give a golf lesson or some things like that."
While searching for any after school program, Johnson says safety should be the number one priority, along with ensuring that the center has the proper licensing.
"But really beyond that, you should take your kid to a place that they have fun and they want to be at."
We have links to the YMCA, along with a variety of other after school care facilities attached to this story.