The Goizueta Foundation has awarded YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the national resource office for the nation’s 2,700 YMCAs, a grant for $5.8 million to expand YMCA early learning and afterschool programs for Hispanic and Latino families, with a focus on those from underserved communities. The grant will also help the Y further develop its early learning readiness model to better support Hispanic family members, friends and neighbors who serve as informal caregivers of young children.
The grant, to be awarded over three years, represents a renewed commitment from The Giozueta Foundation to the Y to support child care and early education programs for underserved Hispanic and Latino children and their families.
“We are grateful to The Goizueta Foundation for its ongoing relationship, support and guidance that helps the Y strengthen communities,” said Neil Nicoll, President and CEO of Y-USA. “Together, Y-USA and the participating Ys will continue to focus on ensuring access, inclusion and engagement of all, and lifting up early childhood education as a key program area for the Y.”
In 2007 the Foundation awarded YMCA of the USA a grant for $2.6 million to pilot the Welcoming Hispanic Families into YMCA Early Childhood Education and Care outreach program for Hispanic communities at five Y program sites in Georgia, and to conduct national research and program development on early childhood education and care for Hispanic and Latino children.
The learnings from these pilot studies indicated the need for additional supports for families and children throughout the state – beyond the age of five, and outside the walls of traditional center-based programs. Among the key findings:
- Hispanic/Latino families often place a strong importance on family members supporting one another and have a cultural tendency to keep young children at home, rather than place them in a traditional child care setting.
- Often, Hispanic/Latino families distinguish between the role of the parent (to provide moral upbringing) and the role of the teacher (to provide an academic education). As a result, some Hispanic/Latino parents are unaware that children are expected to have so many school-readiness skills upon entering kindergarten and first grade.
- Newer immigrants are less likely to have a trusted person with whom to leave their children and are often limited in their choice of informal home-care providers.
To address these findings, the Y will use this additional funding from The Goizueta Foundation to introduce two distinct yet interrelated program models designed to 1) serve even more young children, ages 5-8, in the Y’s afterschool programs through an expanded Welcoming Hispanic Families program, and 2) extend support to family, friends and neighbors who serve as informal caregivers of young children ages birth to 5, by providing activities and resources that focus on early cognitive development.
To align with the Atlanta-based Foundation’s goal to support Georgia communities, the new program models will be rolled out at five Ys in Georgia, and eventually expanded to Ys across the country. YMCAs participating in the new program model include:
- YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta
- Moultrie YMCA, Moultrie, GA
- YMCA of Coastal Georgia, Savannah, GA
- Athens YMCA, Athens, GA
- Rome-Floyd County YMCA, Rome, GA