South Mountain YMCA partners with SOMSD, Achieve Foundation

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

SOUTH ORANGE / MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The South Mountain YMCA, the Achieve Foundation, the 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 that 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 all 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 families and students, the Y is offering a mix of options that include half-day, full-day, partial-week and full-week care.

During 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 of 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 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