South Mountain YMCA, SOMSD & Achieve Foundation Partner to Ensure Equity & Opportunity for Families

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From the South Mountain YMCA:

The South Mountain YMCA is partnering with the South Orange-Maplewood Schools and Achieve Foundation to help provide families with access to child care during the school day. Courtesy of Y-USA.

The South Mountain YMCA, the Achieve Foundation, Parenting Center, and the South Orange-Maplewood School District have formed a partnership to ensure that equity and opportunity continue to be hallmarks of our community. The collaboration is focused on providing financial support for child care options that include educational support for families who are most in need.

The school district is waiving facility rental fees for the Y, so that the Y can provide up to 90 percent financial assistance to families in the school district that are part of the free and reduced lunch program. The Achieve Foundation is launching a fundraising campaign to support those families with an additional 10 percent scholarship.

“The Y is dedicated to youth development and social responsibility. This important partnership will ensure that our students and families have the resources they need to succeed,” said James Goodger, District Executive of the South Mountain YMCA.

This partnership will ensure that district students have the programs necessary to thrive in and out of the classroom and provide families with the financial support needed to navigate this challenging time.

The South Mountain YMCA, in partnership with the SOMSD, recently opened registration for school age child care programs. In order to provide flexible child care solutions to serve our families and students, the Y is offering a mix of options that include half day, full day, partial week and full week care.

Over the course of the pandemic, the Y has been following state, CDC, and local health department guidelines while safely operating Emergency Child Care for essential employees, summer camp, and the Early Childhood Learning Center. The Y’s Financial Assistance program has made this possible for many families that have encountered difficult circumstances.

“Achieve is committed to educational equity and pleased to partner with the Y and the Parenting Center on this initiative. Our fundraising efforts are intended to ensure that SOMSD families who need it most have access to 100 percent scholarships for in-person educational support, child care and enrichment programming during distance learning this fall,” said Eileen Collins Neri, Executive Director, Achieve.

“The Parenting Center is so proud to be part of this unprecedented collaboration to support our most vulnerable families during this time of uncertainty and crisis,” said Parenting Center Director Karen Weiland. “In response to this pandemic, the SOMA community has joined together on so many fronts to help all of our families. Providing scholarships for children to attend the Y child care program will mean so much to so many families who need this support right now.”

“We are so pleased to work in partnership with the Achieve Foundation and the South Mountain YMCA to bring this great support to our students and families,” said Dr. Melody Alegria, Assistant Superintendent of Special Services for the South Orange & Maplewood School District. “By linking accessible child care to families in need, and the addition of our new learning management systems (Canvas for K-12 and Tools of The Mind for preschool), we are able to provide quality instruction and supervision in a safe manner.”

For more information about School Age Child Care programs at the Y, or to make a donation to the Y, visit

To donate to Achieve’s Y Scholarship fund visit

About The Y

Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges invests in its diverse communities to promote wellness, safety and quality of life for children, adults and seniors. Its seven branches in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hackensack, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility through an array of programs. Some 35,000 people belong to the Metro Y, which awards more than $2.8 million annually in direct and indirect financial assistance.

About Achieve

Achieve is an independent 501(c)3 organization that serves as the local education foundation for the School District of South Orange & Maplewood. Over the past two decades, the organization has raised more than $4 million to promote academic excellence and equity in all our public schools, including awarding educator grants and offering free academic support through our flagship Volunteer Tutor Program.

About the Parenting Center

The Parenting Center serves elementary school families in the South Orange Maplewood School District. The Center’s goal is to be a dynamic resource in our community addressing children’s needs and parents’ concerns. Its aim is to provide parents with a full range of supports as they help their children grow and develop.

About SOMSD Schools

The School District of South Orange and Maplewood serves more than 7,200 students in 10 schools, including one early-childhood center, six elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. The mission of the South Orange-Maplewood School District is to empower and inspire each student to explore and imagine, to pursue personal passions, and to collectively create a better future by creating a learner-centered environment through multiple pathways; re-imagined structures, systems and supports; innovative teaching; partnering with families; and maximizing community expertise and resources.

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