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Youth Development - Academic Success


Research shows that many youth from underserved and low-income families often start kindergarten underprepared and fall behind their peers as they progress through school. This “gap,” known as the achievement gap, presents not just immediate hurdles for these students, but also long-term challenges for us all.

The Y understands that the future of our community is affected by the academic success of children. We also know that not all children have what they need to thrive in the classroom. That’s why we support them with strong role models and enriching experiences and strategies that give all children the opportunity to reach their greatest potential academically.

Each of our achievement gap programs — Y Readers, Y Achievers, Parents as Teachers and Summer Literacy Infusion — is offered to families at no cost and is fully funded by individual gifts, corporate donations and grants. Last year, we were able to provide $2.3 million in achievement gap support to help kids in need succeed in their educational journey.

Academic Success
For Youth Development

Summer Literacy Infusion

Summer Literacy Infusion (SLI) is designed to integrate literacy activities into traditional summer camp programming 4-5 days per week for 60 minutes per day. Certified teachers serve as literacy coaches to plan and facilitate activities, as well as to support camp staff in implementation of literacy practices. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte has been working in partnership with Read Charlotte to embed literacy practices in summer camps across Charlotte-Mecklenburg since 2017.

The mission of SLI is to prevent summer learning loss by providing opportunities for students to practice literacy skills at camp, build home libraries, and develop an enjoyment of reading.

Y Readers

Y Readers is the YMCA of Greater Charlotte's nationally recognized literacy program that serves students in grades K-3 who are reading below grade level. The program operates as a six-week summer camp as well as a before/after school program, serving 1,000 students annually.

The mission of Y Readers is to provide the additional support students need to gain self-confidence and be proficient in reading by the end of third grade.

Parents as Teachers

The Parents as Teachers program works with under-resourced families in Mecklenburg County that have at least one child under the age of five and usually have one or more risk-factors — low income level or education, numerous family relocations, newcomer in the community, psycho-social issues, and lack of insurance.

The mission of Parents as Teachers is to provide the information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life.

Y Achievers

Y Achievers serves students from varying academic levels in pursuit of high educational and career goals. The year-round program enrolls new freshmen each fall across eight local high schools. During the summer, Y Achievers provides eligible rising juniors and seniors an opportunity to work in paid summer internships.

The mission of Y Achievers is to help teens improve academic performance, explore diverse college and career options plus interact with professionals who serve as role models.