YMCA program started
By Myra Bean
The YMCA, or a variation, has finally come to Batesville.
Ytalia Shaw, a South Panola graduate, is in charge of the local free teen after school program for ages 12 to 18 as the primary youth coach.
The program has gotten off to a slow start. At first eight students had signed up but only four come on a regular basis.
This program has a lot to offer teenagers and more activities are planned to be added.
Right now, there is an emphasis on tutoring as students are preparing for state exams.
In the summer, there are field trips planned as the students are taught life skills.
Even though they are powered by the same grant as the Boys and Girls Club, there are enough children who may need after school care and tutoring.
Shaw said many come just looking to have fun.
“We will have fun,” she said laughing. “We just have to get to it. The program is set up where they have to do class time, journal time and life skills time. They come in, get a snack, get a break.”
In that building in Panola Plaza, they are able to accommodate 18 students. As they grow, they will get a new building.
“Children and parents just have to give us a chance. I thought parents would like to know where their kids are after school. From 3:15 to 6 o’clock, you know where your kids are. They are being productive, learning a new skill. It should help knowing that your kids are learning new skills, getting help with their homework, getting on computer and getting a snack after school,” Shaw said.
One other amenity is transportation from the school and to home. She can transport those who live in the city limits. “If we get more kids, we can get another bus driver.”
The Teen Afterschool Program is also part of youth services which means if a child has been in some sort of trouble, the parents know where they are, according to Shaw.
Shaw worked at North Mississippi Regional Center (NMRC) for over 17 years. She is a 1996 graduate of South Panola and a 2000 social work graduate of Ole Miss.
“I wanted a change,” she said. “This is my change. I am looking forward to helping this program grow because I think it’s a really good program. We just have to give it a chance to get more kids. We just have to make it work. It’s something Panola County needs.
“You don’t want them to be complacent during the summer. It’s a good program for them,” Shaw continued.
The program will be open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the summer. Field trips in the summer include Pink Palace, Main Event, bowling and Chucalissa Archaelogical Museum.
For more information or to register, call Shaw at (662) 712-6128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.