Nurturing Young Potential
Early Learning Readiness
More than half of all three and four year olds don’t attend preschool despite expert research that shows kids’ brains develop fastest during these early years. All young children need high-quality pre-K programs that prepare them to start school at the same level as their peers. Every year, the Y equips 215,000 kids with the necessary skills to enter kindergarten and put them on the right path for life.
Summer Learning Loss
Kids who don’t read over the summer lose, on average, two months of literacy skills. This has a particularly devastating impact on children from low-income communities. If kids don’t learn to read proficiently by the third grade, they are three times less likely to graduate high school. The Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program helps boost literacy skills for first and second graders and provides kids in low-income neighborhoods with the experiential learning they don’t always get.
Every day, one in four kids is left unsupervised after school, putting him or her at a higher risk for negative influences and activities. The Y’s afterschool programs provide safe spaces for children to feel accomplished, build new friendships and develop a sense of belonging through sports and homework help. Every year, the Y provides over nine million kids with a wide range of programs built on academic intervention, health and enrichment that are proven to have positive impacts on kids’ lives at school, at home and in their communities.
As the number of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs continues to grow at increased rates with higher salaries, it is important to expose all kids to STEM so that they can develop their natural skills into lasting careers. The Y is committed to offering STEM programs to girls and low-income children so they can realize their full potential, despite the current lack of representation in these fields or the underfunded schools they may attend.
Two out of three eighth graders are not proficient in science.
When kids don’t spend time outside, they are more likely to develop behavioral problems. Parents regularly say that they see positive changes in their kids who spend their summers in a camp environment. The Y provides over 1.3 million kids with day, overnight and specialty-camp opportunities, where they can learn to be independent and to contribute to a group through physical, social and educational activities.
One in five American children don’t know where his or her next meal will come from. Studies show that, when kids are hungry, they’re more likely to bully others, have trouble focusing in class and struggle with schoolwork. A proper diet is essential to physical, mental, social and emotional development in kids. The Y fills gaps in access to free and reduced meals during the summer and after-school hours by providing year-round healthy snacks and meals to kids who live with food insecurity to help them grow strong, smart and presidential.
Safety Around Water
Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental childhood death. To reverse this statistic, we need more affordable swimming and water-safety courses so that they’re available to everyone. The Y’s certified instructors teach more than a million children invaluable swimming skills every year so they can be safe and confident around water.