School bells are ringing, so it’s time to plan for after school

Jenny-Byxbee-greenwich-voicesHere in Greenwich, wherever your child may attend school, we are fortunate to have a lot of after-school options available to families.

These options range from consistent after-school care for working parent like myself to special enrichment activities for your child where they can explore their skills and talents doing the things they love like sports or the arts. There is truly something for every school-age student.

The importance of this can’t be minimized. Many studies show that out-of-school time directly affects a young person’s academic success and can substantially help build one’s social skills. According to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, youth who are left unsupervised for a certain number of hours per week are more likely to engage in risky behaviors. The hours from 3 to 6 p.m. tend to be the peak time for juvenile crime and victimization.

It’s important when navigating the more then 122 available after-school programs in our community that you start with a check list of what you’re looking for. You can find full-time, part-time, flexible schedule, ratio of staff to child and licensed facility. For instance, if you’re in need full-time care until the end of a work day, some of our best local programs included the YMCA, YWCA, Boys and Girls Club and the Byram Archibald Neighborhood Center (BANC).

Many them are walking distance from schools, have on-site programs or provide transportation. For example, BANC is a licensed after-school program that dedicates itself to the surrounding community by nurturing children in their social and emotional growth and provides them with an opportunity to explore the world through play, education and interaction with other children.

BANC can serve up to 74 children grades kindergarten through third  grade who reside in the Byram community and who attend New Lebanon elementary school. BANC is at 289 Delavan Avenue and is open Monday through Friday from 2:45 to 5:30 p.m. Applications for this program must be submitted to Greenwich Department of Social Services located at Greenwich Town Hall. For additional information or with questions, contact Christina Nappi, program director, at 203-622-7792.

Our local Greenwich YMCA is also a place where children stretch their skills in mind and body. The programs offer a combination of free- choice and structured activities and the curriculum includes  homework help, character development, arts and crafts, science, sports, swim lessons and field trips. It offers two locations in town with transportation available.

Prices and programs vary, and many of the programs offer a sliding scale or financial assistance thanks to the generosity of the United Way of Greenwich. For more information contact Lee Ann Borg, the director of Wellness, Youth and Family there, at [email protected] or 203-869-1630 ext. 210.

Community Centers Inc., which is more familiar to Greenwichites as CCI, provides after-school homework clubs at four elementary schools, Julian Curtiss, New Lebanon, the International School at Dundee and Hamilton Avenue. Trained staff and volunteers provide homework assistance and academic encouragement, free of charge to those who qualify. The homework clubs provide positive support in a structured environment that is conducive to learning. Please contact Pamela Griffin at 203-869-1276 or [email protected] for more information.

Additionally, many of the PTAs within Greenwich’s public schools also offer afters and enrichment programs catering specifically to their student body’s needs and interests. To find out what afters may be available at your local school, go to that school’s home page. The full list of links can be found at Greenwichschools.org.

These are just a few of the many offerings we have locally. If you feel you need help navigating to the best option for your child as you kick off the school year, you’re in luck. I encourage you to reach out to Community Answers, whose call center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 203-622-7979. And here is a helpful link to a list of 122 after-school programs in this area: Communityanswers.org/org_category/after-school-programs-youth-children-services/.

Remember, if you feel you want to give, advocate or volunteer for any of the local programs and help us live a little bit more “united,” please feel free to contact me at anytime at [email protected]  or at the Untied Way at 203-869-2221.

 

Jenny Byxbee is the Greenwich youth services bureau coordinator. She may be reached at [email protected]

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