The YMCA of the Cayman Islands has won a competitive tendering bid to run the Ministry of Education’s Extended After School Care Programme, which serves 1,500 children.
The ministry this week announced its partnership with the YMCA on the project, which had previously been implemented and managed by the nonprofit Cayman Outreach Association.
“The YMCA is very excited to have this opportunity to help meet the needs of the community,” said Gregory Smith, chief executive officer of the YMCA of the Cayman Islands. “Building up the potential of young people has long been the core focus of the YMCA, and this program provides an ideal setting to do just that.”
The after-school program is designed to provide a safe, fun and productive environment for students until their parents finish work. It started in 2011 with the aim of keeping students out of trouble.
Students can participate in a range of activities, including sports, arts and crafts and performing arts. Homework help and tutoring are also offered.
Mr. Smith said the YMCA will continue to provide many of the same activities that have been successful in the past, and will also offer new curriculum components.
The primary school program will include five main components: literacy, arts, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), FitKids (health and physical activity), and clubs (hobby activities such as photography, cooking and sewing).
The new high school program will continue to offer many of the same club activities as well, with additional activities focusing on youth leadership and vocational interests.
The program is open to all students in the government education system and operates at seven government schools in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.
Mr. Smith said the YMCA has received “tremendous community support” since its establishment in Cayman in 2012, noting that the organization’s all-day summer camp program had 90 enrollments a week over a seven-week period. He said parents and children have been “providing great feedback that shows the value of having the Y on the island, and we are extremely grateful for their support.”
Mr. Smith said volunteers who launched the YMCA here initially conducted a community needs survey which, along with other feedback, showed a strong community interest in high-quality activities and opportunities for young people during after-school hours.
He said the full-time YMCA staff includes Carl Morgan, who has two years’ experience working with the government’s Extended After School Care Programme.
In its announcement, the ministry said it “looks forward to the continued success and growth of the EASP as it benefits our students and the wider community of the Cayman Islands.
The ministry thanked the Cayman Outreach Association for “the important contribution” it had made in previously managing the EASP and in helping to develop the program since its inception.