YMCA uptown branch to fill major void for families with kids learning remotely

New YMCA branch filling major void for families with kids learning remotely

CHARLOTTE — The YMCA is filling a major void for families who have a child learning remotely this semester.

Channel 9 has reported on the YMCA’s back to school program. They’ve been opening up branches to parents who can’t stay home with their child during the school day.

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Now, the YMCA is planning to make a location that is normally just for adults, kid-friendly. Starting next week, the Gateway Village branch on Trade Street in uptown will be used for children.

Gateway Village will open with a back-to-school program for students who couldn’t get into the other branch locations.

Channel 9 was able to get a sneak peek at the YMCA’s full-day program at the Stratford Richardson branch. Students sat at desks wearing masks and doing their virtual coursework. There was one staff member and no more than 10 students per classroom.

The program has become so popular that almost every location has a waitlist -- and the students love it.

“At home, it’s a whole bunch of distractions -- the TV is on, there is a whole bunch of cars honking outside -- but here, there are people that can help us with the Zooms,” said Jamarcus Byers, a Quail Hollow Middle School student.

“They’re in their same classroom the whole day,” said Veronie Gamble with the Stratford YMCA. “Anywhere from when they eat their breakfast, their lunch, rooms are constantly sanitized. We have custodial workers that are here so when we do exit the room and do go outside the play, the rooms are sanitized.”

The YMCA said it is planning to open up another location for back-to-school, but details haven’t been announced yet.

Priority is given to families currently on the waitlist, and some YMCAs have 125 families hoping for a spot.

Local YMCA branches to offer full-day ‘Back to School’ program for students