By Nancy C. Baker
Exclamations of surprise and delight reverberated throughout the hallways and into the new resource rooms of INMED’s Family & Youth Opportunity Center as children checked out their new after-school space, which was renovated over the summer.
“I can’t believe this is all for us,” said a Rolling Ridge Elementary School third-grader as she perused the new computer lab.
The recent transformation is the result of INMED’s expanded programs that will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math to narrow the opportunity gaps for at-risk children, as well as provide low-income families with essential educational resources and programs.
For many Sterling families, there are no affordable options for after-school activities, leaving children without support and poor adult supervision. INMED’s Family & Youth Opportunity Center is designed to provide educational program services and resources that Loudoun families need to raise healthy, responsible and resilient children, build a sense of community, and achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Children who are referred to INMED’s after-school academic enrichment program now will not only receive the usual personal attention to ensure homework completion and academic improvement, but may also enjoy guitar and piano lessons in the new music studio, dance lessons and yoga in the multi-purpose room, research assistance and tutoring in the new computer lab, along with an array of favorite books to read from the new library.
Low-income adults seeking assistance with job readiness can improve competitiveness in the current market with résumé-building and online application skills, along with certification and technical training program referrals, delivered through the center’s workforce-development resource programs, while sharpening their networking and interviewing skills during the job fairs that take place at the center in the fall and spring.
Saturdays at the center the focus shifts to adult income-generation programs, such as cooking classes that culminate with a food management certification and floral arrangement courses, that deliver entrepreneurial opportunities, along with language arts activities (ESL for beginner and intermediate levels) and additional parental education workshops that cover financial literacy, early child development, nutrition and healthy family dynamics.
“Our main purpose for redesigning the center and enhancing the current roster of educational programs is to create an exciting and stable environment that will inspire our program participants to excel and succeed at their life goals,” Executive Director Cecilia Capece said. “We’re using all our academic resources to encourage children to explore their options and act on opportunities that might not have been possible elsewhere.”
INMED invites any individuals interested in volunteering for its after-school program as an activity instructor or student tutor to schedule a tour of the center.
“Becoming actively involved with our non-profit Center is one of the best ways to make a lasting impact in the community and provide a rewarding experience for yourself,” Capece said.
To schedule a tour or for more information, contact Cecilia Capece at 703-729-4951 or email [email protected].
[Nancy C. Baker is the communications director for INMED Partnerships for Children. Working for You is a rotating column providing space for Loudoun’s nonprofit leaders to let readers know what they do and how they can help the cause. To participate in the program, email [email protected]]