YMCA expansion

Twin Tiers YMCA employees Dawn McGriff, Kira Schine and Stacie Titus, look over expansion plans for the YMCA Child Care & Early Learning Center in Bradford.

The Bradford YMCA Child Care and Early Learning Center soon will be expanding its services to better serve more Bradford area children and infants. Thanks to partial funding from the Blaisdell Foundation and the support of the community, the facility will be expanding next door to where the UPMC Cardiology offices were formerly located.

“We are looking forward to expanding the YMCA Early Learning Center to allow more opportunities for children in the community to experience a high quality child care center to ensure kindergarten readiness. Our children are the future and the YMCA Early Learning Center is excited to help them become everything that they want to be,” said Kira Schine, YMCA Early Learning Center assistant director.

“The expansion is an amazing addition to the wonderful services the Y already offers our community. It’s not just the Y’s expansion — it’s the community’s as well,” added Dawn McGriff, YMCA Olean branch marketing and membership director.

The expansion, which is anticipated to be completed mid-February, will add three more spacious classrooms, separate early infant and older infant rooms, as well as a large kitchen area. The addition of the kitchen will allow staff to serve a hot lunch, aside from the breakfast and snacks already offered. Schine noted the expansion will allow for the care of an additional 50 children.

In addition, each room will be monitored by security cameras and the facility will be equipped with a Procare system, requiring a fingerprint to enter, with doors locked at all times for further safety.

The center, which is now a Keystone Stars 4 facility, currently provides a safe, educational environment for children six weeks to five years of age, including nursery preschool and pre-school programs. In addition, the school age program provides year-round child care for children from kindergarten through 12 years of age. Before school care provides breakfast, morning homework help and access to a variety of fun and educational activities. The school age program also entails an 11-week YMCA summer camp, which includes a variety of organized activities, including field trips and daily swimming.

“We like to get the kids outside and involved in the community,” explained Schine.

In addition, she emphasized that lesson plans used in the classrooms are individualized to meet each child’s individual needs, instead of just the classroom as a whole.

Financial assistance is available for those who qualify through the Early Learning Resource Center and scholarship funds are provided by the Bradford Area United Way and the YMCA annual campaign. In addition, Zippo, Case and BRMC currently participate in the YMCA Corporate Child Care Program, which helps subsidize employees’ childcare fees.

The center is also offering a promotion for those who commit to the Early Learning Center for a year.

“For any person who commits to the Early Learning Center for a full year, we are offering a three-month family membership,” noted Stacie Titus, YMCA Bradford branch executive director.

Currently, there are openings in all programs. To sign-up or for further information, contact Kira Schine at 814-368-1610 or visit the Twin Tiers YMCA website at https://www.twintiersymca.org.

Schine also said to “stay tuned” as they will be organizing several open houses for families so they can learn more about the Early Learning Center and what they have to offer.