New YMCA Achievers Program To Start Mentoring in the Fall

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Stacie Peugh, president and CEO of YMCA Cape Cod, and Rene King, program director for the Y Achievers Program.

Stacie Peugh, president and CEO of YMCA Cape Cod, and Rene King, program director for the Y Achievers Program.

WEST BARNSTABLE – As the Cape’s healthcare providers and educators are focusing on the prevention aspect of solving the region’s drug crisis, the local YMCA is putting in place a program to try to ensure teenagers do not take the wrong path.

The Y Achievers program launches in September and organizers will focus on helping young people who may be at risk of dropping out of school to see a way to a future that includes college and a career.

YMCA Cape Cod President and CEO Stacie Peugh came to Cape Cod from upstate New York where she launched the Y Achievers program at a YMCA in that area.

“We had 20 kids our first year in the program and every year it has grown. The first four-year scholarship that was ever awarded for the program was to one of the students in the program that I had started at our YMCA. It’s an unbelievable program that I just saw a great opportunity for this community to adopt and adapt,” Peugh said.

The initiative started a little over a year ago when Peugh was invited to Barnstable Human Services Committee meeting to give a presentation on youth programs the Y offers. “As I listened to the great concern that there was amongst the human services committee about programs for youth and the opiate issue on Cape Cod, I reflected back on this program we were running in New York,” she said.

Peugh said she started by doing some research on Barnstable High School as a starting point and found that there were students who could benefit from the program.

About 20 percent of students in Barnstable are minority low-income population. “Students who fall into that category are not pursuing higher education at the same rates as their Caucasian counterparts,” she said.

The Y Achievers program works well in communities where that is the case, she said.

“This program nationwide really helps address some of those disparities that exist for at-risk youth,” Peugh said.

Rene King, a longtime member of the Barnstable Recreation Commission, will serve as the program’s first director.

King said she has been involved with the program since she worked at IBM in Boston and served as a professional volunteer Y Achievers and also helped facilitate the program at the corporation.

“This is one of the YMCA USA’s premier youth development program. It’s for youth ages 12 to 18 that are in need of some support. It was originally founded in Houston, Texas, and today it has evolved to serve all students to help them reach their potential. It is geared college preparation and other sustainable careers,” King said.

Peugh said that the program seeks to break the cycle of poverty by helping to steer young people toward higher education.

“Kids who are feeling like they don’t have a path to college which would then lead to a career where they are feeling confident and contributing to society is really what we saw some of the data indicating. We thought maybe this would be a great opportunity for us to bring the program here and help fill that gap,” Peugh said.

The program is looking for donations, volunteers, and collaborators who want to work on the Y Achievers program.

Listen to YMCA Cape Cod President and CEO Stacey Peugh and Rene King, program director for the new Y Achievers Program, talk about the new Y Achievers program.
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