The Ministry of Education has renewed the Young Men’s Christian Association contract to manage and operate its Extended After-School Program.

The after-school program is currently offered at nine primary and high school sites, servicing 15 government schools in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, and provides after-school activities for as many as 1,600 students.

The YMCA began operating the program in September 2015. Since then, it has provided an after-school environment for children.

Minister of Education, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said the YMCA is a great example of the community coming together to support, shape and guide young people, by providing them with the tools necessary to reach their best selves.

“We are looking forward to working closely with the Y over the next two years to continue to enhance our after-school structure,” she said.

YMCA Operations Director Gillian Roffey said the after-school program was highlighted as a key need when the YMCA came to the Cayman Islands five years ago.

“The primary purpose of the YMCA is Youth Development and through the EASP, we aim to maximise the potential of every child,” she said in a press release. “We are so pleased to have been given the opportunity to continue to impact Cayman’s youth through this programme, teaching them life skills and contributing towards the development of influential leaders for our future.”

Students at Clifton Hunter High School learn photography.

She explained that there have been several areas of focus of the program that have contributed to its progress over the past two years.

These include an enhanced program curriculum, greater parental involvement, improved relationships with school leaders and expanded community partnerships and initiatives. There has also been a persistent focus for staff and volunteers on quality assurance and safety.

“The YMCA is committed to working diligently and making the necessary adjustments to build on the strengths of the EASP and ensure alignment with the Cayman Islands Strategic Plan for Education – producing greater, measurable results,” Ms. Roffey said.

“We are grateful to the Ministry of Education and for all of the corporate and private support that makes this programme possible, investing in our most critical asset – our youth.”