Organization Name: Alfond Youth Center

Program Name: Afterschool (ASP) & Summer Enrichment (SEP) Program

Program Contact: Jared McCannell, Grants Manager
Email: jmccannell@alfondyouthcenter.org     Phone: (207) 873-0684

UWMM has funded this program for 20 years.

Amount Requested: $20000
Is this an increase from what your program received for the current funding cycle? 
Yes

Received: $18300 Requesting increase because:Last year we requested a combined $4300 for SEP and $14000 for ASP. We are combining the requests into one ask of $20,000 as the two programs are actually part of the same program, only defined by time of year and hours of operation. The increase in funding is proportionate to the increase in demand for this service. Affordable childcare is at a premium in central Maine and our program (whether during the school year or in the summer) is the largest provider of childcare in the area.

Twenty-five word summary of this program’s purpose:

Youth have an enriching place to go when their parents/caregivers are not available. We offer nutritious meals, academic support, physical fitness and social development opportunities. 

How your program is uniquely important to the community:

The goal of our proposal would be to directly fund our year round, school age, child care programs which directly affect working families in the region. Both the AYC Afterschool Program (ASP) and the Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) would benefit from this funding (keeping earned money in the hands of working families and allow for more working hours in the day/week). Families save on childcare costs, nutrition costs and have more flexibility with their own work schedules (needing to take less unpaid time off from employment opportunities).

Our licensed Afterschool Program currently serves over 400 youth annually, with more than 70% of whom attend at no cost to parents. Over 50,000 nutritious meals are served annually to children at Alfond Youth Center.

It is well documented that youth involved in licensed childcare programs when school is not in session (after school hours during the school year and during school vacations) are less likely to end up in the juvenile justice system as first time offenders, and more likely to be successful in the pursuit of academic (post secondary) and employment opportunities as they transition out of school into adulthood. Rates of violence against children, abuse in other forms (sexual and exploitative) as well as illegal drug use and abuse are all significantly lower for youth that are registered in a program like Alfond Youth Center’s ASP and SEP programs. A national Boys & Girls Club Alumni study found that across ethnic, racial, and economic categories between 92% and 95% reported that participating in programs like our After School or Summer Enrichment programs had a positive effect on their lives, on learning to be a leader, on getting along with others, and on success in life. With so many dangers facing today’s youth, a free and/or low cost option for childcare is essential to the healthy development of our community. This program remains vital to the community which employs professional teachers and has one of the highest rated child nutrition programs not only in Maine but also among 3,500 YMCA sites across the country! We have become a national model of best practice.

Program Updates

Since last report (or in past two years):

In the past we had counted Afterschool (ASP)and Summer Enrichment (SEP) Program(s) as separate UWMM funded programs. However, we recognize that they are more accurately representative of the same overarching goal of offering year round affordable childcare to our constituents. 

A 20,000 square foot expansion and renovation of the AYC will provide additional program space so that we will be able to increase our licensed childcare capacity to 500 in the next year.

We still need funding from United Way to narrow our funding gap and to help us keep fees at their below market rate.

Expected in the coming year:

The biggest change in our program is the fact that demand is going up. More and more families are applying for services (with an increased number of them qualifying for financial assistance—costs that if not funded are absorbed by AYC). Unlike our other program revenue (athletics, wellness activities, space renal, etc.) our child care program tends to operate at full capacity all year, yet with over 70% participating at no cost to the parents, the program is constantly at risk of operating at a loss. Nevertheless, we are dedicated to serving all children and families in the area, and have consistently funded the program with a diverse array of resources (grants, program revenue, donations and sponsorship).

The current expansion and renovation of the AYC to be a Community Wellness Center for all ages will provide additional program space so that we will be able to increase not only our licensed childcare capacity to 500 but serve the community in more ways to promote wellness for all. 

Outcome your program most contributes to:
Education: All children grow up in a stable environment—safe, healthy, and ready to learn.

How program contributes:
Provides a direct service in early learning and youth success/education areas, Advocates for early learning, youth success, and/or education, Collaborates with other programs/services in early learning, youth success, and/or education

Define your year: April 1- March 31

How much did we do? 430 (Total number served)

How well did we do it?

Performance measure: Percent of eligible youth who participate in the school or community-based out-of-school program on a regular basis
“Regular basis” is “Regular basis” in terms of Afterschool and Summer Enrichment programs can be defined as attendance/participation in at least 3 days a week during both school year and summer vacation.
Most recent year’s data: 78%
Previous year’s data: 90%

What was the difference made?

Performance measure: Percent of children and adolescents who have reduced exposure to ACEs
Most recent year’s data: 78%
Previous year’s data: 90%

Action Plan

Objectives for current year:

The current primary objective for the ASP/SEP year round childcare program is to continue to provide this necessary service to all youth and families in the Mid Maine region for a target of 430 unique individuals (youth) throughout this program year. Participating youth will received nutritious meals and snacks on site, as well as have the opportunity to participate in the Supplemental Nutritional Weekend Backpack Program, Sustainable Youth Gardens, Cooking Classes and “Kids Kitchen” and numerous physical fitness and wellness activities.

Youth have the opportunity to participate in their own food security action steps (growing produce, learning to cook, bringing home food for their families on the weekend, etc.). Beyond being a “safe place for kids to go” we want to use this opportunity in conjunction with our building renovations to open the door for our wellness center for the whole family, and work to empower youth to take an active role in their own and their families’ health and wellbeing. With food insecurity being one of the biggest concern amongst our constituents (second only to childcare costs), most of our programing ties back to access to healthy food, making good nutritional decisions and bringing that knowledge with them to the greater community.

Engaging 100% of participating youth as resources in their own wellbeing is an objective that is emerging as a priority for us this year. Using the framework of our childcare program, we have become successful at feeding a large number of youth and families in the area, we now want to turn that success into a lasting solution to some of the biggest challenges we face as a community. Like the old adage says: give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime… Alfond Youth Center is taking the same approach, but with sustainable gardens, good nutritional choices and skill based growth. All of these initiatives can be traced back to our childcare program which bring families in to the center.

Related objectives supporting this goal include monthly community meals, regular cooking classes (weekly once the renovated kitchen is complete) and expanded  participation in the Weekend Backpack Program into the summer with a goal of 100 backpacks sent home weekly during the summer (currently this initiative only operates during the school year and sends home over 120 backpacks weekly).

Objectives and results from last year:Success Stories

“I love coming to After School Program to see my friends. I have met other kids from all over the area and have friends in Waterville and Oakland now. My school does not have sports, so it is nice to play things like baseball or try rock climbing with other kids like me”. (Henry, age 8).

Previous Year Actual Income and Expenditures

Government Funding UWMM Funding Other UWs Funding Fees/Dues Funding Other Sources Funding Total Income
507033 18300 0 175544 51782 752659

Total Actual Expenditures: $752659

Current Year Budgeted Income and Expenditures

Government Funding UWMM Funding Other UWs Funding Fees/Dues Funding Other Sources Funding Total Income
383369 20000 0 174633 115936 693938

Total Budgeted Expenditures: $692238

Anything remarkable about your program’s budget:

Any discrepancy in funding from last year to this year can be attributed to 2 factors. Last year we asked for separate pots of money to support both Afterschool (ASP) and Summer Enrichment (SEP) programs. In streamlining our program delivery, we recognize that these two programs are pieces of the same puzzle (all-year childcare) and the only variables are the times of day and times of year the programs are offered. Our request this year is for one sum that would fund both programs under one “childcare” umbrella. 

Our expenditures are based on projections and are slightly less than the total budget for this program. With ASP and SEP, since both services tend to operate at a loss based on program revenue alone, we count on every penny to meet budget. We budget based on the numbers of youth we serve (many of whom are free or at reduced rates and don’t count toward program revenue). Some of these costs are able to be offset by reimbursement or other allocation, but it is difficult to project, so we base it on the budget and program rosters from previous years. We expect to do more this year than last and need every penny possible to keep this crucial service available. Program revenue from other services and programs at AYC are how we make up the difference to keep the program running. 

 
What else you’d like reviewers to know:

We are the only club in the nation to combine the two organizations (YMCA & BGCA) under one roof and one board of directors. We bus children from Oakland, Waterville, Winslow and Fairfield to our Afterschool & Summer Enrichment Programs.  We fill a vital need for families who struggle with the rising cost of childcare. We are open when the schools are closed, including during vacations, holidays and storm-related school closings. We give over 200 children a day a supportive place to go after school, a nutritious hot meal, help with homework, and the opportunity to participate in various activities from which they learn the social skills needed to excel in life.

Based on our own program fees of $60 per week (per youth) we offer the community a valued child care service worth over $1.2 million a year (as a conservative estimation)! The $20,000 requested to offset the costs of this program will benefit the whole community by keeping costs down for everyone and allows for financial assistance when needed (which about 70% of our current families are eligible). Parents and guardians are able to access more employment opportunities because they count on us for childcare. It is by far the best deal around for school aged childcare and we would love to have United Way of Mid Maine continue be our partner in this service! Whether helping youth with homework during the school year, or keeping their minds actively engaged in the summer, we are helping youth in Mid Maine achieve better educational outcomes.

 

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