YMCA Educational Academy, A Miracle for Some Working Families Navigating Remote Learning School Models

My Y Story: Liliana

7-year-old Liliana and her YEA teacher Angel


“We were basically in a crisis situation,” said Wendy Reed Johnson. When schools went to remote learning during this pandemic, she needed help for her granddaughter, Liliana, a second grade student at Bicentennial Elementary School. Both Wendy and her daughter Stephanie work full-time. Wendy’s daughter is a school teacher in the Pelham, NH, school district. “We literally didn’t know what to do,” she added.  Wendy’s business partner and YMCA Trustee Earl Prolman suggested she reach out to the Y and learn more about the new YMCA Education Academy. “Finding this program was literally a miracle for us. I’m not kidding,” she said.

The Educational Academy (YEA) is based at both Camp Sargent and the Westwood park YMCA branch. “The teachers (at YEA) work through the online school schedule. They help with homework. They are the teacher. It’s as if Liliana has a private tutor.”

Liliana was able to transition from her summer experience at Camp Sargent, to the YAC with ease. “She loved her summer at camp. It was wonderful for us; it was wonderful for her.”

Liliana also participated in the Y’s afterschool program. Wendy shared, “Liliana had some afterschool challenges this past year. She had a rough spot of time. Going to the Y’s afterschool program allowed her to meet and make friends with other kids. She did not want to leave early. Every day she wanted to stay till end of the day. If I came before 6pm she would say ‘Nana, why are you here so early?’” Wendy added that she loved her counselors and was happy that she would take advantage of swimming lessons. She continued, “She was anxious and worried about everything. Being enrolled in Y programs helped her quite a bit. We live in a neighborhood without a lot of kids. She made a lot of friends at the Y. At Camp Sargent, I could see how she became less anxious, her energy level was up. She ran, played and swam – all the fun stuff. She had the structure, camaraderie and consistency.”

“The YMCA’s Educational Academy was the best thing that has happened to our family all year!,” Wendy said.


YMCA Educational Academy: A new program in support of local school districts and the families of K-6th grade students in the Greater Nashua Region.

With this new school year looking different than any other, the YMCA is committed to providing families with safe and enriching child care while ensuring that students have support in any remote learning they are doing with their schools. The YMCA has been providing child care and summer camp programs to children since the middle of March in a safe, caring and responsible way and we are excited about expanding upon that work by equipping children with the tools they need to succeed academically and socially in this new environment.  To enhance what the schools are offering, the YMCA is partnering with BellXcel to provide in-person curriculum using LitArt. Each day during the Brain Power Hour, YMCA staff and volunteers will lead students in fun, project based, grade appropriate educational activities in math, literacy and writing.  And of course each day will include many of the enrichment activities that the Y is known for: sports, arts, team challenges, and STEM projects.


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