Press Release: New Castle County, Charter School of New Castle and YMCA of Delaware launch innovative partnership to help area kids

Largest ever $2 million federal grant to fund summer and afterschool programming for 150 youth in high needs community

New Castle, DE – Joined by students, community advocates, U.S. Senators Thomas Carper and Chris Coons and state officials at the Route 9 Library and Innovation Center, the Charter School of New Castle, New Castle County and the YMCA of Delaware this morning announced the launch of an innovative partnership to provide enrichment activities and learning opportunities beginning this summer to up to 150 Charter School of New Castle elementary and middle school students.  The partnership’s work is being funded through a $400,000 annual grant award from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CLLC) program, a competitive federal grant program administered in Delaware by the State Department of Education.  This annual 21st CLLC funding is available for up to five years.

“Summer learning loss is a serious barrier to equal educational opportunities,” said County Executive Matt Meyer.  “The $2 million grant announced today will make a difference.  Our kids matter, and their success matters.”

The $2 million aggregate grant is the largest programming grant received in the history of New Castle County.  The partnership established a year-round program, including a full day summer session and afterschool programming during the academic year.  The 7-week full day summer program will attack the “summer academic slump” through math and language arts instruction, STEM education, reading and literacy support and character development programming at the Route 9 Library and Innovation Center, along with recreational and character development activities at the Bear and Western YMCA branches summer day camps.  During the school year, the afterschool program will include tutoring and homework assistance, reading and literacy support, opportunities in drama, art, tutoring, mentoring, leadership, club and interscholastic sports and more at the Charter School of New Castle’s campus on Lukens Drive and the Route 9 Library and Innovation Center during four afternoons each week.

“At the Charter School of New Castle we work every day to equip our students with the necessary skills to become critical thinkers, problem solvers and decisions makers of the future,” said Charter School of New Castle CEO Aaron Bass.  “We encourage our students to have dreams, and work with them to achieve those dreams through vision and goals.  Thanks to this grant and our partnership with New Castle County and the YMCA of Delaware hundreds of young people in our community will have a better chance of attaining a bright future and meeting their full potential.”

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program funds local initiatives that provide learning and enrichment activities during non-school hours for students in schools that serve a high percentage of low-income families.  The partnership announced today by the Charter School of New Castle, New Castle County and the YMCA of Delaware is one of five Delaware recipients of 21st CLLC awards this year, and one of only two grant recipients in New Castle County.

“Summer day camp at the Y is a fun and unique experience that every child should have an opportunity to enjoy,” said Deborah Bagatta-Bowles, President and CEO of the YMCA of Delaware. “Because of our partnership, we will be able to provide more access to recreational and educational activities that will keep kids active and healthy all summer long. Through summer camp, we are helping combat summer learning loss and childhood obesity while children explore the outdoors, meet new friends, discover new interests and create lasting memories.”

About the Partners

The New Castle County Route 9 Library and Innovation Center, a transformational $31 million facility in the heart of the historic Route 9 Corridor, was designed to support literacy and promote innovation and entrepreneurship by leveraging technology to create opportunities for patrons of all ages to learn new skills like video editing, animation, and programmable electronics, and robotics in a welcoming and accessible setting.  In addition to its core focus on books and literacy, the library features many unique learning areas including a STEM room, Makerspace, Media Production Lab, Sensory room, Bookatarium, Scriptorium and Black Box Theater.

The Charter School of New Castle, lead applicant for the 21st CLLC grant, enrolls more than 800 students from Kindergarten through eighth grade.  The Charter School of New Castle builds an excellent foundation for future educational success through principles of instilling respect for self and others, building strong character traits, and preparing student for success in a global society. It is guided by three academic goals: to educate students for future success, to promote academic excellence and equity for a diverse population of students within the public education system and to provide a high-quality choice of educational opportunities within a public school system for parents, students and educators.

The YMCA of Delaware, the largest provider of quality child care and camp in the state, will provide summer learning and enrichment activities by engaging participating youth in its outdoor camps at the Western and Bear YMCA branches.  These camps will complement and enrich the Charter School of New Castle’s educational activities, as students have an opportunity to explore and appreciate nature, music, art, drama and have fun.  Opportunities to read in a purposeful way allow campers to maintain their learning skills over the summer months. Swimming, team building activities and games will round out the day.  A nourishing lunch and snack will also be provided.  YMCA camp is about the whole child. The YMCA believes in providing comprehensive camp programs, which foster the social, cultural, physical and emotional development of children. Activities reflect the character values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. The YMCA creates opportunities for children to enhance their self-esteem, build friendships, develop greater independence and give them a sense of their creative potential in a safe, fun and nurturing environment.

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Our Mission


The YMCA is an association of people of all ages, ethnic groups and religious affiliations that strives to cultivate the human potential, self-esteem, and dignity of all people. Our organization exists to develop and practice the Christian principles of love, caring, inclusiveness, justice and peace…and to enrich the emotional, physical and social life of all individuals, families and our community.

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Program registration is now OPEN. Classes start January 2nd! CLICK HERE to register and search offerings by location.

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