By Susan Olsen Orpilla, Contributing Writer
Region – Is the YMCA Family & Community Partnership (YFCP), the area’s best kept secret? If your little one or you are having challenges in life, YFCP may be the answer you are looking for. All services are free and you do not need to be a member of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).
Many are familiar with the YMCA, also commonly known as the “Y”, and perhaps visit one of the local branches. However, they may not be aware of the YMCA Family & Community Partnership (YFCP). It is a grant program of the Massachusetts Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) and funded by the Department of Early Education and Care.
This program provides activities, education, and services geared towards birth through early school age children (typically 0-5 years) such as playgroups, story times, exposure to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and much more. Workshops and resources for those caring for children such as parents, grandparents, nannies, etc., are available as well. The YFCP serves the towns of Auburn, Berlin, Blackstone, Boylston, Douglas, Grafton, Hudson, Marlborough, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, and Westborough.
Director Beth Gailor designed the program. She empathized with the adjustment of becoming a mom and wanted to make an impact on families with young children. In 1994, she worked in some of the pilot programs that would become the YFCP and provided home visits with families. In 2000, she was hired to create a program called Beginning Years Family Network that eventually merged with another grant funded program, Together We Can Family Network, to become YFCP.
Grateful parents have this to say:
- “YFCP has helped me through a time in my life when I was having difficulty adjusting to motherhood. Connecting with other moms and making friends provided me with the lifeline and lots of key information that I needed in order to feel like I wasn’t alone.”
- “The YFCP program has exposed my child to many age-appropriate activities and has helped us discover his interests, capabilities and limitations. The programs offered are so diverse and really cover all areas of interest (physical, artistic, imaginary, social, etc.). There’s something for every child and if there isn’t, YFCP has shown to respond positively to participant feedback.”
- “As a parent of a child with a newly diagnosed special medical need, these programs have provided my child with essential stimulation. He is really flourishing and expressing himself and I truly believe the playgroups and music classes have attributed to his progress and development. With the current economy, these programs provide an essential service to families who may otherwise not be able to pay privately. Our family is deeply grateful for YFCP!”
- “I am a stay-at-home Dad and YFCP really helped me through the initial adjustment. Networking with other parents, learning about good parenting and interacting with a terrific staff has been priceless.”
Gailor manages the planning, curriculum, grant requirements, communication, staff and outreach of the program. She is grateful to the overwhelming support of the YMCA. Gailor obtained a bachelor of science in elementary education from the State University of New York at Geneseo and her master of science in parent education and family support from the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development at Boston University. She has also taught at Quinsigamond Community College.
For more information visit https://www.ymcaofcm.org/yfcp or call 508- 865-5920. The YFCP Family Center is located at 13 Providence Road, Sutton and the YFCP Play Space is located at 169 Pleasant Street, Marlborough.