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YMCA program approved for Hampton

| Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, 5:45 p.m.

YMCA Before and After School Enrichment programs for children in grades kindergarten through fifth will be held at the Hampton Township School District, pending review by school district solicitor.

The school board voted 9 -0 to approve the YMCA program at its Aug. 6 meeting.

The program will be managed, staffed and led entirely by the YMCA, with the school district only providing space at the middle school and transportation for the morning and afternoon programs, according to Dr. Michael Loughead, school superintendent.

The before school program will be held from 6:45 to 8 a.m. and after school would be 3:30 to 6 p.m., said Amanda Sullivan, regional child care director for the Baierl Family YMCA.

The BASE program provides homework help, a healthy snack, and daily enrichment activities, said Sullivan.

A before and after school program was formerly provided by Hampton Township at the community center, but officially announced July 1 to families that they were no longer able to provide the childcare due to shortage of staffing.

The township met with the superintendent and school board members to discuss a program earlier this year, with the possibility of childcare at the district through a third party, such as the YMCA.

In order to quickly move the program and get it into the district, a letter was addressed to parents from Loughead that the Baierl Family YMCA offered to bring the program to the district, with the potentiality of starting in the 2018-19 school year.

However, the YMCA needed a minimum of 12 children enrolled in the program before they could move forward at Hampton, Sullivan said.

She said she received more than 80 emails and phone calls in one week with parents expressing interest and, as of last week’s meeting, 17 children enrolled, both in the morning and afternoon programs.

“That’s a very successful rate,” said Sullivan. “You have been amazing to work with and reaching out to all the parents.”

Since that quota was met, the school board agreed to vote on the program last week, despite it not being a voting meeting, in order to accommodate parents who were looking for childcare. Sullivan said she talked to a number of parents who were “on the fence” regarding enrollment, and were waiting for the school district’s response.

There are multiple payment options for parents who are to contact the YMCA to register and for costs.

Kathy Nipps, also a YMCA representative, said the BASE programs are licensed with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and in the state’s Keystone Stars Quality Initiative program.

This certification allows nonprofit YMCA to provide financial assistance to qualified families, said Nipps.

“Being a licensed facility brings another level of security,” she said, including unannounced site visits, facility and program inspections.

Sullivan said several school districts in the area offer space for the YMCA program as well.

There is already a trained full-time staff member ready to begin. And Hampton high school students can also help with the program, as long as they are 17 and have their clearances.

On the days when students have a half or full-day off of school, the YMCA provides an all-day program, said Sullivan.

All communication should be directed to the YMCA. Hampton will have a district liaison, Dr. Colleen Hannagan, principal at Poff Elementary, but only would be contacted in necessary situations.

Nipps said they were excited to offer the program at the district.

“Hampton has been part of our service area for quite a while and we have been trying to increase our presence here,” said Nipps.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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