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Afterschool program coming to the Lakeland area

Children participating at the YMCA of the Northwoods in the afterschool program.
YMCA of the Northwoods
Children participating at the YMCA of the Northwoods in the afterschool program.

Next year, an afterschool program will open in the Lakeland Area filling what many refer to as a gap in childcare in the area.

The program is a collaboration between the YMCA, Lakeland Union High School, and the Marshfield Clinic Health System.

In 2019, different transitions and losses left a need for afterschool programs for children in the Lakeland area.

Every Hour Counts was born of that need.

Community member, the YMCA, and Marshfield Clinic worked together figured out what would best serve families in that area and how they could accomplish that.

“Afterschool programs help kids build life skills. It helps give working parent a piece of mind. It excites kids about learning out of school time and out of school day. And we know that these programs keep kids safe and out of trouble,” said Ryan Zietlow, Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of the Northwoods.

There will now be an afterschool program housed at Lakeland Union High School.

Transportation will be offered from local elementary schools.

It will run from the end of the school day to 5:30 p.m.

The program will provide homework help, healthy snacks, physical activity, academic enrichment activities and more.

“Part of our structure is how do we connect with our elementary school leadership, administration, school counselors, and social workers to really make sure we understand and identify the needs of the children that are belonging to our program and then putting together a path for them to be successful,” said Zietlow.

Right now, the YMCA is completing the licensing process with the Department of Children and Families and hiring staff.

Zietlow hopes this is just the beginning of the YMCA’s involvement in the Lakeland community.

“How do we look at other support services for youth, enrichment programs that are the backbone of what the Y does and the mission that we have and take that into the Lakeland area,” said Zietlow. “While we see the after school program as being the first launch of the YMCA presence in Lakeland, we’re truly hopeful that the community support continues to build and we’ll see a greater presence in the future of the YMCA of the Northwoods in Minocqua.”

It hopes to start pre-registering children for the program at the end of January.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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