Two local youth advocacy agencies are looking to partner with the York City School District.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of York & Adams Counties is seeking approval for a school-based mentoring program that would serve students in three city elementary schools. A one-to-one mentoring opportunity would pair York College students with young students in Jackson, McKinley and Hannah Penn, said Mike Smith, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

The after-school program would include mentors spending the first half of the week focusing on academics, and the latter half would include fun activities, he told the school board this week.

While the mentors would be enrolled in York College's sociology classes, the students would be at-risk students chosen by York City guidance counselors.

All mentors would go through a stringent volunteer review, and their meetings with young students would take place in libraries or cafeterias at the city schools, he said. The partnership would also bridge a gap between York College and the city school district, said Steve Jacob, sociology professor at York College.

When he met with college President Pamela Gunter-Smith to discuss the initiative, she said the program would operate in York City alone.

She guided the professor and students to focus on supporting the youth in York City.

"I believe this is a new perspective of York College," Jacob said. "We want your students to see our campus as their campus as well."


YM proposal: The YMCA also spoke to the board, hoping to add more youth sports and activities in the district.

York City already has several programs for football, basketball and baseball, so the YMCA wants to fulfill needs that haven't been met, said Doug Markel, director of the YMCA's youth and teen sports programs.

"We want to provide for the kid who needs physical fitness, or needs social development and confidence," he said.

Activities would include soccer, volleyball and more.

The YMCA estimates it would serve 420 city students in grades K-8 and asked the board to use facilities at Ferguson and Hannah Penn.

Sports management and recreation interns from York College will help operate the program, Markel said.

Board members welcomed the opportunties and said it has been 10 years since such after-school activities were offered in the city.

"With all the budget issues, this is a way to provide some services for the kids," school board member Michael Breeland said. "We can't afford to fund them, but we can partner with the Y."

The programs, which would begin in the fall, could be approved by the board during its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 25.

— Reach Candy Woodall at