Tag Archives: enrichment

A conversation between Beth Maczka & Joshua McClure

29 Jun


On a mission to serve school age children: Beth Maczka, YWCA CEO, recently sat down with Joshua McClure, the Director of our Primary Enrichment Program.

BM: Tell me a little about your background and why you were interested in working at the YWCA?

JM: I’ve been working with kids for 11 years now. As an African-American man, I want to be a positive role model for youth in the community.  I grew up at the YWCA – taking swim lessons, participating in after school and hanging out with my grandmother. The YWCA is welcoming and accepting. I think the mission speaks volumes, and it is important to me, but also coming here feels like home.

BM: How does your program relate to the YWCA’s mission of empowering women and eliminating racism?

JM: We’ve always been the voice and resource for single parents. They trust our staff and many have been a part of the YWCA since their kids were 6 weeks old. The thing that I hear from parents the most is that the counselors really care about the kids, as if they were their own, like family.  As it pertains to the child care and voucher crisis in our community – these parents want to continue all the way through the Primary Enrichment Program. They don’t want to leave.

BM: What do you think makes our After School and Summer Camp unique?

JM: First of all, we are diverse. Secondly, we have programming that will help meet all the different needs of our kids. We are striving to be more than just a “babysitter,” by having  a greater focus on bridging education gaps during the school year and combating summer learning loss during camp. The homework help we offer is a huge benefit to our kids and also their parents. The [Big Brothers/Big Sisters] mentoring partnership program will also help give kids a voice and help develop social skills – especially our shy and less engaged youth. The kids are also really enjoying other partnerships we are bringing into our program, including Girl Scouts, tennis and ABYSA soccer. 

BM: What is your approach and vision for the Primary Enrichment Program?

JM: I want to be involved. Set a new dynamic. Improve the whole ‘feel’ of the program. Make people feel welcome and engaged – the staff, the youth and the parents.

It is important that they [the kids] see me as more than just an authority figure. I try once a week to spend time in each room helping with homework or playing games. I want to show the kids that I care. I really want to be involved. And they love the time we spend together – they remember the games we have played.

I look forward to the program blossoming with more people knowing about us…parents wanting to do more within the program. Cross promotion between After School, Spring Break, and Summer Camp. We are striving to help with education, enrichment, and health & wellness. I want it to be viewed as a great program in our community.

BM: What would people be surprised if they knew about you?

JM: One of my legs is longer than the other.

BM: You’re such a great dancer & teach our popular Hip Hop Cardio classes! That sure hasn’t slowed you down, has it!?

JM: Nope!

Ready for Summer Fun?

28 Mar
YWCA Summer Camp is right around the corner!  Camp will run June 10 – August 16, and sign ups are being accepted now. To register, contact the School Age office at 828-254-7206 ext. 111 or cici.weston@ywcaofasheville.org.
During Summer Camp children (grades K-6) will remain active by participating in swim lessons, free swim, hiking, gardening, field trips, art, dance, sports, nutrition, fitness, science activities, and Summer Camp weekly themes. Register today! We fill up fast!Image

Happy Body – Kids’ Yoga

30 Jan

child care yoga 022
Kids in the YWCA Child Care Center and After School program have had the pleasure of taking weekly yoga classes, thanks to Happy Body, a Pilates, Yoga and Bodywork studio in south Asheville. Instructor Jaime Moshe provides these classes to our participants free of charge as part of the Happy Body Outreach program.  As the Happy Body website explains, “We are dedicated to helping those who might not otherwise find movement in their lives through the Happy Body Outreach Program. We invite everyone to help us by invoking the mantra: Care for yourself. Care for your community. Through special events and community partnerships, there is ample opportunity to foster a rich, supportive environment for all.”

We are grateful to Happy Body for providing the opportunity for YWCA children to be exposed to child care yoga 037yet another way to enjoy physical activity and fitness. child care yoga 029

Warren Wilson Owls basketball team visits the YWCA After School

11 Jan
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This week the kids in the YWCA After School’s Groups 4 and 5 were treated to their own mini basketball camp thanks to the Warren Wilson basketball team. They dribbled, practiced ball handling and defensive moves, worked together as a team and smiled from ear to ear!

Go Warren Wilson Owls basketball team! You made our kids’ day and were wonderful role models showing that hard work and good grades pay off! Thank you!
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YWCA After School Feature

1 Aug

We wanted to share this wonderful article from this month’s VERVE Magazine.  The YWCA is very proud of CiCi Weston and of our School Age Programs. We are currently taking sign ups After School, and we are also recruiting volunteer tutors for the program. If you want to register your child for after school, you can stop by the YWCA, call 254-7206 x 111 or email cici.weston@ywcaofasheville.org. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Kathy Dawkins, 254-7206 x 205 or kathy. dawkins@ywcaofasheville.org.

YWCA’s After School Students Reap the Benefits of Experiential Learning

article by Sherri L. McLendon
photo by Matt Rose

CiCi Weston smiles a lot, and it’s the small moments that sustain her. The School-Age Programs Director at the YWCA of Asheville and Western North Carolina, she became inspired a few summers ago after staffers and kids cultivated and picked ears of corn. “We popped the corn in the kitchen,” she says. “The children were fascinated with the fact that we grew our own popcorn.”

Despite that light moment, her mission is growing ever more complex. This upbeat leader believes it’s possible to transform the lives of kids through direct experience.

Before the popcorn breakthrough, the students had little knowledge about the way the food they prepared was grown and harvested. So Weston rolled up her sleeves and created a hands-on curriculum — including a garden — with a goal to address childhood obesity. She and the other instructors began to introduce a range of healthy foods.

Her team incorporated math, science, writing, basic economics, and business skills into the curriculum. “We’re exposing the children to things they need to know,” says Weston. “They’re not eating potato chips; they’re eating fresh vegetables and foods made on site.”

The students’ sense of achievement and community continues to make Weston smile. She began to approach experts willing to offer children’s programming and bring to life the joys of cooking, gardening, art, drama, poetry, music, swimming, and other interests, such as Girls on the Run, an extracurricular track program.

Through her efforts, parents of this fall’s crop of elementary-school-aged kids will find the Asheville YWCA After-School Program — already a five-star-rated venue where swimming lessons are included in the standard tuition — enhanced through a series of new enrichment activities. In Western North Carolina, economic stresses on families means employed parents may be stretched thin. The After-School Program offers an unusually affordable solution, including limited scholarships.

Unfortunately, cuts in state funding have eradicated comparable programming for middle-school students and teens, even as demand grows. Weston says she would “love to see people step up and see that happen for middle schoolers and teens.”

She rejects the argument that middle-school students are old enough to stay home by themselves. “We know differently. They’re not going to stay home if their friends are out.”

The reality of the situation can be read in her face. The light leaves her eyes, and her tone takes on a searching quality. She’s still smiling — but searching for answers the whole time.

Sign Up Now for After School

19 Jul

Registration is now open for the YWCA of Asheville’s After School Program for grades K-6. This 5-Star rated program will begin on Wednesday, August 15. Hours are Monday through Friday from 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm at the YWCA, 185 S. French Broad Ave.  The YWCA provides transportation from area schools.

Participants receive homework assistance, and participate in enrichment activities such as swim lessons, cooking, drama, poetry, gardening, dance, and field trips. Space is limited – sign up today!

Cost is $70/week for YWCA members and $104/week for non-members.

The YWCA After-School Program is open on teacher workdays, snow days, and select holidays. For more information go to www.ywcaofasheville.org or call Director of School Age Programs CiCi Weston at 254-7206 x 111.

Summer Camp is in full swing!

12 Jul

The YWCA K-6 Summer Camp is in full swing with an action packed schedule. Frequent field trips, organized games, arts and crafts and music fill each day. Planned field trips include visits to the Carl Sandburg Home, Lazy 5 Rance, the WNC Nature Center, Grandfather Mountain and Lake Tomahawk. At the end of the month, campers will be recording CDs with Randy Weston of Westsound at his studio. The entire camp will be performing original songs in the Children’s Area of Asheville’s Bele Chere Festival on Friday July 29 at 2:00 pm. Here are a couple photos of some of our campers on the YWCA playground: