The Best Choice Center, located at 1031 Highland Ave in Winston-Salem, is an academically focused program that provides after school care, enrichment activities and summer camp for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Scholarship assistance is available for all child care programs. Children attend the Best Choice Center program as a result of sliding scale scholarship support from United Way. (83% have family incomes below $31,000.)
Best Choice Center’s programs have achieved these successes:
95% of after school program students maintained a C or higher in math, and 92% in reading
100% of campers enrolled for all weeks of enrichment maintained or improved their reading and math scores
After school enrollment can be as high as 80 children
Summer camp enrollment reached over 100 children
Certified teachers and experienced teaching assistants are hired for the after school program, and the academic portion of the summer program. The YWCA provides transportation for children from their schools to the Best Choice Center for the after school program, and some children from local neighborhoods walk to the Center. Parents and guardians pick them up from the Center.
The Best Choice Center focuses on low-income children’s academic achievement and soft skills development. The results occur through the following strategies and activities:
- Providing year-round academic enrichment program with active learning summer camp
- Hiring certified teachers, experienced teaching assistants, and bilingual staff (five of the current Best Choice Center staff have advanced degrees)
- Providing transportation from schools to the Center, for field trips and for swim lessons at the Gateway
- Providing sliding scale scholarships
- Insisting on respectful behavior
- Developing trusting relationships with the families
- Using Parent Council to engage parents in the volunteer leadership of the Center
- Hosting holiday and year-end celebrations of the amazing accomplishments of the children. These celebrations involve the whole family and are held at the Best Choice Center.
Health and wellness is an important part of the Best Choice experience thanks to generous donors, and is an additional benefit for the families.
- Families are provided with memberships at the Gateway Sports and Wellness Center, including swim lessons for the children and their families courtesy of grants.