YMCA holds open house for their After School Enrichment Program

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Along with organizing school clothes, supplies, and lunches, parents are also deciding on after school activities.

Kids improve social skills at YMCA After School Programs

After school programs are a great relief for parents that don't get off work until later in the day. They are also key in keeping kids out of trouble. After school is a peak time for kids to commit crimes, become victims of crime or experiment with things like cigarettes or alcohol. Keeping them busy with positive activities is crucial.

The Hastings YMCA held an open house Monday for parents to learn more about their After School Enrichment Program.

"We do a lot of STEM Activities. Each kid has their own personality and interests, when you put them all together you get this great environment. I call it organized chaos where they are all doing something and at the end of the day they are all learning something from it," said Lauren Steffan, Director, YMCA After School Enrichment Program.

Experts say kids who attend after school programs develop strong social skills, make better decisions, improve grades and have higher graduation rates.

"You have a different friend group, they new friends that they don't have during the day. That is where their social skills come in and we have older kids come in and be their role models," said Jennifer Callahan, Coordinator, YMCA After School Enrichment Program.

Parents signing up say they like the convenience of the busing program that picks the kids up from their school as well as the wide variety of Programs the YMCA has to offer.

"We have a homework program, we go outside, do walks go over to Libs park. We do all of the sports that the YMCA offers, basketball, volleyball, tennis courts, we do so much," adds Callahan.

The after school program is for grades K-5. Scholarships are available for those who qualify.