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Irwin council to partner with YMCA for program

| Saturday, March 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Children in the Irwin area can participate in a YMCA-led recreation program to debut in the borough this summer.

Council members this week voted to enter into an agreement with the YMCA for the six-week program with costs not to exceed $5,500.

Plans are not final, council President John Cassandro said.

Scott Heasley, executive director of the YMCA in Wilmerding, which serves the Irwin area, said the organization will meet with borough officials to examine the community's programming needs.

“I find that children, especially in summertime, need positive opportunities in the community,” Heasley told council last month. “Kids have energy, so you either give them a positive outlet or, unfortunately, they use negative outlets.”

No official start date has been set, but the program would begin after the school year ends.

Officials are basing the program on 25 children attending Irwin Park between 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekdays. Times are subject to change, Cassandro said.

“During that time, they'll be doing activities such as soccer, kickball, basketball, dek hockey, general games sometimes,” Cassandro said. “But it'll all be supervised.”

Programming could include science and arts components, Heasley said last month.

The cost likely will be much less than $5,500, Cassandro said, and officials will look for fundraising opportunities.

The YMCA operates similar programs in other locations, Cassandro said.

“These people are professionals,” Cassandro said. “The YMCA has no better reputation as far as that goes.”

Cassandro said he's excited about the opportunity in Irwin.

“(Heasley is) planning some really cool stuff,” he said. “It's going to be a really good program.”

Activities would target children between 5 and 14 years old, though the programming could be expanded if there's a need, Heasley said. Irwin residents likely would be the primary participants, he said, but the program would be open to any children.

“We're looking forward to it,” Heasley said. “That's what the Y is about — to try to partner and meet needs in the community.”

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.

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