Out of School Time (OST), already a popular program at Kent County YMCA, promises to get even better thanks to a Centreville Bank pledge of $25,000 over the next five years.
Bank Senior Vice President Leah Prata visited the Y Monday morning with a giant-sized check that instantly caught the interest of several kids who had difficulty fathoming the number 25,000. But that number was very real for Kristen Petrarca, who runs the program, including students from 19 schools in four school districts from kindergarten through sixth grade.
“We’re going to expand the program, and this is the first big step to do that,” Petrarca said.
In dealing with academic and social issues, Petrarca said the Y is looking to integrate elements that will more fully engage kids and increase their OST experience. She sees turning to the community to do that – for example, by working with World Martial Arts and Apeiron Institute for Sustainable Living based in Providence. Introduction of martial arts would be one activity through which, while working with Apeiron, kids would learn about healthy eating, growing food and even solar cars.
Y director Paula Jacobson sees the bank’s support as enabling program expansion and “getting kids excited about learning.” She also sees it as a means to work collaboratively with other providers.
The program is staffed by 22 and operates from seven different sites. Warwick students from Cedar Hill, Park, Scott Robertson, Greenwood, Wickes and Warwick Neck schools attend OST at the Y. A total of 214 kids are enrolled in the program. The program is run five days a week from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. The cost for the full five days is $97 and, as Jacobson points out, “there is assistance for those who can’t afford it.”
Prata said the bank has been a longtime supporter of the Y and the good it does for the community.