In the U.S, an estimated 850,000 professionals work with children and youth during out-of-school hours providing enriching experiences. We believe that for young people to fully realize their potential and thrive, they need opportunities and relationships beyond what they have access to at school and at home. This is where our YMCA Expanded Learning Programs come in. We provide a safe place to grow, connect and give children in our care a sense of belonging. 

Hear directly from our staff on what ELP means to them:


Amy Tec – John Otis Elementary
What has ELP brought to your life? 

"ELP has changed my life entirely. I entered while still in university and was a student that did not know what I wanted to do in life. When I got hired, I thought this job would be short-term and I would be somewhere else by now, but I was WRONG. The years passed and I became an assistant supervisor and then a site supervisor. On behalf of my experience with ELP, I have enjoyed every single site that I have worked with. Seeing the students come in everyday brings joy to my life. I appreciate the fact that we get to spend most of the student’s day with them. I believe we are like their second parents. There is sometimes where my students are tired, overwhelmed of school and their daily routine, and it is on us as an afterschool program to turn the day around. That if students were not being welcomed elsewhere, we make them feel welcomed. That if a student was not being listened to; he has a voice here with us. I also have learned that our students are little sponges, which means that they take soak everything that we show them. This brings a great responsibility to us as staff, but it is also the perfect time to demonstrate and set the example on how to be respectful and caring to others. The ELP has brought me nothing but happiness and excitement to be play a role in the future generations. Shout out to all of our After School Staff!" 

Navin Alavez - Escondido Unified School District

"Everyday there are individuals that are creating opportunities, creating a safe and supportive environment, and creating relationships beyond the classroom time. The work that these individuals commit themselves to , I believe can be summed up into these words from Maya Angelou, "You have no idea what your legacy will be. Your legacy is what you do every day. Your legacy is EVERY LIFE you've touched, every person whose life was either moved or not. It's every person you have helped. That's your legacy." and I believe anyone who has worked an Expanded Learning Program has left a legacy behind with every student that they have had the privilege to work with."

Click on the image or here to listen to Navin's response.


Connie Bell-Mullen – Lincoln Acres Elementary
What is the biggest impact of ELP on our communities? 

"Much of the impact that we have we will never see or know. We are not just educators, we are also advocates. Our children learn from us how to care for themselves, others, and their communities. They carry life skills and lessons we teach them on in their lives as they grow and into their own families."



Excited, Enlightening, considerate -Rosa Rodarte
trustworthy, thoughtful, and caring -Alondra Arredondo
Fun, safe, productive -Airam Garate
Positive environment, growth, safe place -Melissa Martinez
Fun, energy boosting, loving -Katelyn Cordero
Family, community, support -Alexa Felix

Check out our YMCA Expanded Learning InstagramYouth & Family Services Instagram and Childcare Resource Service Instagram for more staff voices!