Birmingham YMCA providing scholarships, school support for 125 families

B'ham YMCA offers school support to 125 families

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More than 100 at-risk students will soon get much-needed in-person support while they continue learning virtually.

“From day to day, we have had to meet the needs of that day,” said Terri Harvill, District Executive Director of YMCA of Greater Birmingham. “No two days have been alike.”

For the Y,  this pandemic has just emphasized their important role in this community.

“We have a lot of students who, during the pandemic, they’ve gained weight, they’ve gone through depression, they have high levels of anxiety.  And when they get around us at the YMCA, there’s this little sense of normalcy, or at least the new normal,” said Harvill.  “But at least they can laugh, they can be comforted, they can have conversation.  Most of all, they can feel like they’re safe in an environment where they know they’re supported.”

And now, with help through a grant from the Y-USA, the Birmingham Y can help more students feel that support.

Over the next eight weeks, the Y is providing scholarships to 125 families and will offer full-day in-person support through their School Support Academy.

“Instead of your child being home alone while you’re at work, we’re able to have an in-person opportunity where we have counselors who are here with the YMCA to actually be able to work with your child while they are in school with the district,” she said.

For Darral Bethel,  a parent of Birmingham City Schools students, he knows how important that face-to-face interaction is.

Bethel said his son’s participation in the School Support Academy has made all the difference.

“It definitely was a challenge, and this is like a relief to know that they have a safe place to come. And when work is over, you can come pick them up and know that everything is okay,” Bethel said.

To find out if your child is eligible and how you can apply for the School Support Academy, click here.

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