Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kids' Korner Receives Two Important Grants

Kids’ Korner is much more than a child care program. The eleven before and after school programs located in public elementary schools in Middletown, Portland, and Cromwell serve over 600 children. Children who attend our programs are surrounded by caring adults who serve as positive role models; enjoy healthy snacks, participate in daily CATCH fitness games and activities, receive help with homework and engage in a wide variety of activities and clubs that build both social and academic skills. The YMCA is intentional about making Kids’ Korner assessable to all families regardless of their economic situation. Our programs strive to engage all children in activities that promote personal interest and skills that will help children grow into healthy adults. Two community partners have recently provided the YMCA with grants that will support these objectives.

Liberty Bank Foundation

The Liberty Bank Foundation presented the YMCA Kids’ Korner with a $5,000 grant to support our Kidzlit Program. Kidzlit is an afterschool literacy program for K-2nd grade students. KidzLit instructors meet once a week with children introducing a variety of picture books that touch on social skill themes such as friendships, honesty, cultural competency and others. Children read the book with the facilitator, talk about the character, plot, illustrations and theme while also recognizing cool vocabulary words. Upon completion of the story children participate in an extended learning activity such as crafts, cooking, dramatic arts etc. The goal of the Kidzlit program is to increase young children’s joy of reading.

JCPenney Foundation

As a leading corporate advocate for the afterschool issue, JCPenney works with afterschool organizations to increase the accessibility and affordability of afterschool programs across the country. The Middlesex YMCA is one of 287 Y’s from across the United States to receive a grant this school year. The $5,000 grant allows the YMCA to provide financial assistance to underserved populations that otherwise could not afford to participate.

The YMCA is exceptionally grateful for the Liberty Bank Foundation and JCPenney Foundation support and commitment to the work that we do for children and families in this community.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Y Hikers Closing Our First Season

Our Y Hikers group is scheduled to go into hibernation on Thursday, October 21st, but not before we get in one more blue blazed adventure. This Wednesday will be our 14th outing and we will be hitting the Shenipsit trailhead in Cobalt. We expect to see some great foliage with stunning vistas of the CT River and Great Hill Pond in Portland.

Our hiking adventures this season have been multiple and have we ever been blessed by the weather goddess! We had one total downpour when we all got drenched but all the rest were truly beautiful, yes, quite warm some times, but truly beautiful CT weather. We have found interesting things on the ground and in the sky. Most of the hikes have been within 20 minutes drive time of the Y and there is some truly gorgeous country right here in our backyard. We give great thanks to the CT Forest and Park Association and their volunteers who give so much time in trail marking and maintenance. The Blue Blaze trail system is a great asset!

Our hikes have averaged between 2 and 4 miles each week and so I figure we’ve covered nearly 1.5 marathons in distance and the total elevation change we’ve covered must be close to half a mile of up and down. We have had a weekly group of between 4 and 8 hiking with us and have successfully retrieved a total of 7 lost hikers along the way, not too shabby for a bunch of amateurs.

The best part of it all has been the great fellowship we have experienced. Good friendships have been established and when you peel away all of the meaningless stuff that can clutter up life, that’s one very precious discovery that can last a lifetime. With the regular hiking season coming to a close it’s a great time to get a good deal on a pair of boots for next spring. It’s never too early to start making plans. Come join us in April.