In The Classroom:

Club Y gets kids going

After-school program encourages students to exercise and finish their homework.

May 04, 2010|By Michael J. Arvizu

Weight machines, basketball, “Dance Dance Revolution” and Wii — the combo may sound like a typical teenager’s pad, but this time, they’re what help make up the YMCA’s latest after-school program, Club Y.

The focus of the program is to get children ages 8 to 14 involved in after-school activities that are safe, supervised, productive and fun, said YMCA Associate Program Director Saleh Saleh.

“We’re getting them off the streets and trying to get them to the Y,” Saleh said.

The club’s facilitators also work with the kids on weight training and other sports. Fridays can sometimes be movie nights, and each feature includes a healthy snack.


“It’s more important to come here because you get to exercise and move around,” Asadoryan said. “It’s better for you than to sit at home [and] eat the chips. At home, nothing is going to happen.”

Club Y member Roland Petrosyan, 16, said the club offers him an opportunity to let off steam. It’s especially helpful on the night before a big test, he added, as it helps him focus.

As an aspiring basketball coach, Club Y allows Petrosyan to hone his coaching skills and get in a few basketball games as well.

“I think I get confidence,” Petrosyan said. “I gain some strength, some abilities.”

The program, launched in March, is a consolidation of the YMCA’s after-school homework help, youth health and fitness and gym guardian programs, said youth health and fitness supervisor Harout Aristakessian.

The program runs from 3 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

But Club Y isn’t all just fitness.

“My main thing is I want to improve our homework help,” Saleh said. “I want to get the homework help really up and going. A lot of kids nowadays, they just kind of play ball and they stay here forever instead of doing their homework. We want to have a big emphasis on homework.”

The Y’s homework help needs more kids, Saleh said, prompting an outreach effort at local schools.

“That’s what it’s for, to get the community to know the YMCA,” said Director of Wellness Ryan Nekota. “We try to let [kids] know there is a safe place hang out.”

Club Y can also give children a place to belong, Aristakessian said. Since school cliques comprise kids who have things in common, Club Y gives students a healthy outlet, he added.

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