What You Need to Know about the YMCA Y Learning Labs Program

Founded in 1844, the YMCA has been supporting young people for centuries, providing a safe refuge, supporting health and well-being, and empowering young people at home and abroad. Led by dedicated leaders, the Y Learning Labs for Super Scholars Program teaches young people the requisite skills for developing self-reliance and trusting relationships, providing vital academic support to promote future success.

The YMCA prioritizes safety in all of its activities with a focus on protecting the health and well-being of all clients, staff, partners, and volunteers. Throughout the global pandemic, the YMCA has taken steps to adapt its environment to keep families and staff safe, as well as to adhere to the strictest CDC COVID-19 regulations and local guidance.

Helping to Meet the Needs of Local Communities

The YMCA has sought to meet the needs of local communities through a variety of platforms, including distance learning. Y Learning Labs aims to provide a real-world learning experience in a safe and socially distanced environment, providing educational opportunities for young people in groups with a maximum of 12 people.

In collaboration with schools and partner organizations, the YMCA has continued to provide full-day support for families since March 2020, continually updating practices to fit current health and safety recommendations. The organization remains focused on fostering friendships, achievements, and a sense of belonging for youth, while at the same time prioritizing the health and safety of families and staff.

Y Learning Labs provides a safe shelter supervised by YMCA staff, offering children a safe space to attend distance learning sessions staged by their school and enabling families with low incomes to continue to work. The program incorporates a variety of STEM, art, outdoor education, and physical activities, ensuring that children spend time socializing with their peers while protecting their health through various social-distancing practices.

Health Procedures

The parents of children participating in YMCA programs complete daily health check forms confirming that they are not exhibiting any symptoms of illness. In addition, the YMCA staff are also required to submit health check forms on a daily basis.

Each day, the YMCA checks the temperature of all staff and children attending the facilities. All program staff and participants are also required to wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds between activities, before and after lunch and snacks, and prior to the end of the program.

During the hours when the program is in session, staff and program participants are required to wear face coverings. Venues feature prominent signage promoting healthy habits. Moreover, families whose children participate in YMCA programs are provided with CDC literature that outlines safe health procedures.

Social distancing is maintained at all times at YMCA venues. The rooms are set up to promote social distancing, with programs operating outdoors as much as possible in line with state and local regulations.

Throughout the day, separate groups do not interact. Staff members are assigned to a specific group and, so far as practicable, do not interact with others.

YMCA staff carry out visual health checks, assessing both the children and other staff members. Each facility is comprised of a medical isolation space to accommodate children and staff members who feel unwell. The area provides a safe space for them to wait until a family member can collect them. Parents are required to pick up their children within an hour of being contacted.

YMCA of Silicon Valley Annual Campaign

Communities that are underserved have relied on the YMCA more than ever before during this challenging time. The YMCA Silicon Valley’s Annual Campaign has raised vital funds in support of its COVID-19 response efforts, enabling it to provide essential services to vulnerable children and families throughout the year and making a positive impact on local communities in the following ways:

Distance learning—Supporting distance learning for students, including financing Y Learning Labs for Super Scholars; providing access to Wi-Fi and technology; addressing urgent childcare needs for parents; and offering daily physical activity and healthy meals for youth.

Assistance for vulnerable people—Supporting vulnerable neighbors through a variety of virtual resources for socio-emotional learning, fitness, education for youth and adults, welfare check-ins for vulnerable community members and seniors, and the YMCA Virtual Diabetes Prevention Program.

Hunger relief—Hunger relief for youth through the YMCA Year-Round Meal Program, delivering nutritious snacks and meals to youths where the need is greatest.

Meals for seniors—Safe access to nutrition for seniors by partnering with the City of Morgan Hill, the Santa Clara County Senior Nutrition Program, and the City of Gilroy to provide free hot, healthy meals for seniors.

Internet hubs—Closing the digital divide by providing YMCA Internet Access Hubs, delivering free, open access high-speed Wi-Fi in areas that are underserved.

To date, the YMCA of Silicon Valley’s annual campaign has raised more than $1.4 million, raising vital funding to support residents in what many predict will be a challenging year ahead.

About Mark Stevens

Mark Stevens

Based in Menlo Park, California, Mark Stevens is a venture capitalist with three decades of experience investing in the technology industry. Currently, he serves as managing partner of S-Cubed Capital and as a special limited partner of Sequoia Capital.  Continue.