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Article updated: 8/19/2013 6:11 PM

YMCA Afterschool programs provide Learning Enrichment Activities

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By B.R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County

Providing youth with opportunities to continue to learn and engage in meaningful activities at the end of the school day can boost their academic success. To help motivate and inspire kids to learn, the B.R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County offers an afterschool program, Safe 'n Sound, to school-aged children throughout school districts 41, 89 and 200.

The Y's afterschool program combines academics with play and offers a caring and safe environment for youth who would otherwise be left unsupervised.

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During the school year, 15.1 million U.S. children are left unsupervised after 3 p.m., according to the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness advocacy organization. In Illinois, 28 percent of children are left alone and responsible for taking care of themselves. With the start of the new school year, the B.R. Ryall YMCA encourages parents/caregivers to make sure that children are involved in safe, educational experiences after school.

"The combination of enrichment and extended learning opportunities is essential to increasing children's success in school," said Lynda Chott, CEO, B.R. Ryall YMCA. "YMCA afterschool programs promote a love for learning, social and emotional development, healthy choices, character and creativity, and provide children with an extra support system through positive role models to help them achieve and reach their full potential."

Studies show participation in afterschool programs helps boost school attendance and academic performance and reduces gaps in academic achievement among children from disadvantaged households.

In the B.R. Ryall YMCA's afterschool program, Safe 'n Sound, youth receive help with homework and can also explore science, crafts and group games to promote physical activity. Financial assistance is available to those in need, to ensure every child and teen has the opportunity to learn and grow at the Y.

For more information about the B.R. Ryall YMCA's afterschool program, Safe 'n Sound, please contact Erin White, Safe 'n Sound Director, at (630) 858-0100 or ewhite@ryallymca.org or visit www.brryallymca.org.

About the Y

The Y is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization. The B.R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County strengthens the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children -- regardless of age, income or background -- to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. For more information, visit www.brryallymca.org.

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