Polk County Schools, YMCA partner on new after school program

Polk County Schools and the YMCA of Greater Spartanburg are partnering on a new after school care option for local families.

The new program will offer families an opportunity to enroll students in after school care at one of three locations in the county. The for-pay program will be housed with PEAK After School and operate in the same locations.

“This is a significant development that underscores PEAK After School’s commitment to serving students during ‘out of school time,’ said Tiffany Dennis, PEAK After School program director. “This collaboration aims to provide enhanced after school care options for families in addition to the current 21st CCLC program, ensuring that children in Polk County have access to enriching activities and a safe environment beyond the regular school hours.”

PEAK After School’s program has currently reached capacity, requiring students to be placed on a waiting list to join the program. The new partnership with the YMCA, which also plans to open a Polk County facility in the next couple of years, will provide a means for families to immediately have an after school option.

“We are so thankful for the relationship that we get to continue with Polk County Schools,” said Atticus Fehl, District Executive Director of YMCA of Greater Spartanburg. “Our goal is to serve the people of Polk County and believe that working with students is a great way to accomplish that goal.”

PEAK After School has been a cornerstone of after school care in Polk County for more than a decade, offering a supportive and engaging environment for students. The program operated last year in part with a number of grants that helped fund operations. The loss of one of those grants this year, though, meant program officials needed to take a proactive step to ensure that the after school services they provide continue to thrive.

A New Chapter with the YMCA
The new chapter in after school care begins with the introduction of a for-pay program powered by the YMCA. The collaboration aims to provide affordable after school care to students in Polk County, ensuring that families have access to high-quality services.

One of the key highlights of this partnership is the seamless integration of the for-pay program with PEAK After School’s existing offerings. Students enrolled in the for-pay program will experience the same dedicated staff, facilities and engaging activities that have been the hallmark of PEAK After School’s success. This integration ensures that no child is left behind and that all students, regardless of their payment status, have equal access to enriching experiences.

Supporting Academic and Social Growth
PEAK After School has always been dedicated to helping students thrive academically and socially. Their close relationship with school-day staff ensures a cohesive approach to supporting a child’s holistic development. From homework assistance to a wide range of enrichment activities, the program is designed to create well-rounded individuals ready to take on the challenges of the future.

Financial Assistance and Inclusivity
Recognizing that every family’s financial situation is unique, the YMCA offers tuition scholarships for families in need. This commitment to inclusivity ensures that economic barriers do not hinder any child from benefiting from the program’s offerings. Financial assistance details will be included in the registration packet.

The for-pay program serves students from kindergarten to eighth grade, making it accessible to children of various age groups. It’s important to note that all students, regardless of their participation in the for-pay program, will have the same opportunities. The program functions as one cohesive unit, emphasizing equal access for all.

Safety First
Parents’ peace of mind is of utmost importance. PEAK After School and the YMCA maintain rigorous safety protocols, aligning with Polk County Schools’ standards. These protocols ensure that each child’s safety is always a top priority.

To Join The Program
Any family interested in enrolling a student in the new YMCA program should complete this Google form expressing interest. Registration for the for-pay program operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Anyone with questions can contact the PEAK office at 828-894-1002.

Important Dates to Remember
* Registration Release: Oct. 2, 2023
* Tentative Program Start Date: Oct. 23, 2023

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