Y ON THE WESTSIDE — New programs focused on elementary age students, families

Published 12:20 am Sunday, November 12, 2023

Y on the Westside — two new programs aimed at youth and families — is off to a good start.

Kevin Pearson, YMCA of Southeast Texas director, said the programs are run in conjunction with Port Arthur Community Foundation and partnerships with New St. John Missionary Baptist Church and Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church. The programs are free and focus on elementary-age children.

The programs

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The programs include Tutor Time & Open Gym held from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Thursdays at New St. John church, 1048 W. Gulfway Drive.

The evening is split into sections, Pearson said.

  • From 3:30 to 5 p.m. youth can get help with homework, try some STEM projects and work out their minds.
  • From 5 to 7 p.m. is open play and structured games
  • Dinner is served at 6 p.m.

Pearson said this is a drop-in program, but parents must bring their children the first time to sign waivers and meet the staff.

The second program, Family Program Nights, is held Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. through Dec. 19 at Mount Sinai church, 501 W. Thomas Boulevard. Dinner is served at 6 p.m.

Children pray before a meal at Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church during activities at Y on the Westside Family Program Night. (Courtesy photo)

Registration is free, but participants are asked to sign up online.

This program is a bit different in that it is aimed at families. Adults will see exercise for their body and some exercise for their mind, Pearson said.

On a recent Tuesday night there was soccer for children and an option for adults to prayerfully walk or a chair exercise program.

“We want the adults involved,” Pearson said. “We are bringing in some information for parent education, whether financial literacy or parenting classes. We want to give parents resources.”

Glenda Trainer with the YMCA said this past Thursday’s event was a blessing. They started with four children and there were 12 in attendance this week.

How it came about

Pearson said officials pondered how to reach more children and families. They knew some families are located in the Westside of the city, some are in public housing and some have public transportation issues. But there are schools and churches in those areas.

The thought was “here’s a community that needs a Y,” he said.

The YMCA reached out to families during a recent fall fest, through Port Arthur Independent School District and churches.

For more information on the programs or to register, call Trainer at 409-962-6644 or email gtrainer@ymcasetx.org.