Children are like sponges—they watch and absorb knowledge, skills and values from everything and everyone around them. At the Y, we believe the values and skills learned early on are vital building blocks for quality of life and future success.  That’s why our early learning and after-school programs are staffed with people who understand the development of kids and the need for children to feel connected and supported in trying new things.

Y staff are hard at work preparing for the fall in our early learning and out of school time programs. We are excited about our new and expanded programming for these age groups.

At the Fry YMCA our DCFS licensed program is expanding to provide more options for all families. Half-day, full-day and extended-day options have been designed to make the progression into the school year an easy one. Key components of these programs include weekly swim lessons, daily enrichment classes and daily gym/outdoor time. In addition, breakfast, snacks and hot lunches are being offered so parents don’t have to worry. For more information contact

Kroehler YMCA’s Early Learning Discovery Center has added more options for families who need a little more flexibility in schedule. Focus areas include literacy, math, science, socio-emotional development and healthy living. Parents can pick their enrichment blocks and bundles to meet the needs of each young person. For more information contact Sheri Cooper at

Once our preschoolers graduate to elementary school the Y continues to serve families through our Safe N Sound Program. This before and after school program offers a high quality, youth-centered program offered at local schools before school begins and immediately after school ends. With an emphasis on experiential learning, social and emotional development and the promotion of healthy living Y Safe N Sound enrolls more than 1,000 children annually. For more information, visit

At the Y we have a responsibility to our community, especially the children. We know how important youth development is at these ages and we continue to offer financial scholarships to families to ensure that all children are able to make friends, learn new skills and learn how to be their best selves. That makes for confident kids today and contributing, engaged adults tomorrow.