Tuesday 22 January, 2019

Health ministry supports YMCA afterschool programme

A dozen staff from the Ministry of Health spent an evening volunteering at Bodden Town Primary School last month.

Their aim was to support and help raise awareness for the Extended After-School Programme (EASP) that the YMCA operates for government schools across the Cayman Islands.

In the holiday spirit the team from the Ministry, which has previously pitched in with other community efforts such as clean-ups, opted this time to focus on giving back to the children of the Cayman Islands.

As such the group spent the afternoon and early evening at the school working with the 75 children who take part in the different activities which the programme offers at the Bodden Town Primary venue. The volunteers from the Ministry assisted with homework and then a range of activities that included: STEM, literacy and KidFit.

            “It was a chance to give back as we know that the YMCA is always happy to have volunteers”, Ministry of Health Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn comments.

            The wider EASP programme provides after-school programming for approximately 1300 participants at nine sites that serve 15 government primary and high schools in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.

At the primary school level the programme consists of five core components: literacy, STEM, creative arts, KidFit and speciality clubs, such as: swimming, judo and dance. The high school programme focuses on leadership development, vocation and academic support. More than 30 clubs are available to high school students including: automotive, dance, karate, cooking, sewing and drama.

To assist with the delivery of the programme the EASP employs over 100 youth leaders and coordinators, 10 at Bodden Town Primary.

Thanking the Ministry for their contributions YMCA spokesperson Gillian Smith notes that the EASP has some 40 volunteers and community partners across the Islands. “Persons interested in volunteering should know that there's an EASP site in each district eager for more volunteers,” Smith adds.

"It's so great to see the Ministry of Health directly supporting this important work in the community. When everyone does a little it really accomplishes a lot, and means a great deal to the kids in our community.”

             Individuals who wish to support youth programmes should visit the YMCA website for information about volunteer opportunities and to complete the volunteer application form (www.ymcacayman.ky/volunteering-with-the-y/).

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