Since 1986, the YMCA Community Action Program (Y-CAP) has been helping underserved students across Middle Tennessee claim a brighter future by offering safe spaces with caring adults to provide academic, social, emotional, and spiritual support. Currently, Y-CAP works with over 1,000 underserved K-12 students from more than 60 schools at no charge, focusing on the greatest perceived needs by age group.
This work is critically important because of the challenges that this population of students face:
- Two in three 3rd graders in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) are not reading at grade level. Research shows that third grade reading success is the most significant predictor of graduation and career success.
- One in five youth in Tennessee don’t have someone to care for them after school. Unsupervised middle school students are at greater risk during vulnerable after-school hours.
- Minority and immigrant high school students are at a significant disadvantage for college admission and subsequent career success due to limited financial resources and support from family or school. A counselor in MNPS on average serves 345 students; the recommended ratio from the American Counseling Association is 250:1. While students of color make up one third of the student population in TN, only 21% of high school degrees are awarded to them. Additionally, minorities are underrepresented in career leadership positions. While 23% of white adults in TN occupy professional roles, only 12% of Latinos and 9% of Black adults occupy similar roles.
Please visit our different programs pages to see how we are addressing these challenges.
In March 2020, the long-established campus for Y-CAP was destroyed by a tornado. After the tornado and even through the challenges presented by COVID-19, all Y-CAP programs have continued with no interruptions, and we are very excited to announce that our new facility is now open!