Capital District YMCA expands Literacy Enrichment Achievement Program with support from MVP Health Care


CONTACT: Erin M. Breslin; Jo Ann LeSage Nelson

ALBANY, NY, June 27, 2016―Since 2013, the Albany YMCA has offered a Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program in collaboration with the City School District of Albany for underserved, economically disadvantaged children, focusing on children who are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches. From 2013 to 2015, 55 rising first and second graders who completed the program had a reading level gain of three months to one year. Now, with financial support from MVP Health Care, the program has been expanded by the Capital District YMCA to serve five times more children annually.

The new Literacy Enrichment Achievement Program (LEAP) is a six-week, full-day program that will be offered at four school sites selected by the City School District of Albany. It will run from July 11 to August 19 at Arbor Hill, Giffen Memorial, and Philip Schuyler Elementary Schools, and Sheridan Preparatory Academy. The no-cost program will expand five-fold to reach up to 160 students, 40 at each site. MVP Health Care is funding the program with a donation of $26,000 for the summer 2016 program and $20,000 for the 2017 program. MVP’s generous support will supplement the school district’s $81,000 investment in the program for 2016.

“As the number one provider of childcare in the region, it makes perfect sense for the Y to offer a program that helps children retain and improve their reading skills. When we say we nurture the potential in every child, this is what we mean. And we’re so grateful to our long-time partner MVP for supporting these efforts,” noted David Brown, president and CEO of the Capital District YMCA.

“Success in reading is critical to a child’s overall success in the classroom. Ensuring that reading skills don’t slip over the summer is an effective way of helping students stay on track and achieve their potential. At MVP Health Care we’re committed to the health and well-being of our community and benefiting from a good education plays an important part. We’re pleased to support the YMCA’s efforts,” said Denise Gonick, MVP’s president and CEO.

LEAP is conducted by certified teachers and teacher assistants, all who have received special training on the Four-Blocks literacy model, which integrates four language arts areas into reading instruction: guided reading, self-selected reading, writing and working with words. In addition, family engagement will be a priority for participation to ensure full integrations of the literacy model into the children’s home routines. A literacy test will use comparative data on students’ reading levels from week one through week six. The LEAP program will supplement the school district’s separate summer camp program which also offers literacy components.

“We are grateful to MVP Health Care for its generous support of our summer partnership program with the Capital District YMCA,” said City School District of Albany Interim Superintendent Kimberly Young Wilkins, Ed.D. “This growing partnership is an excellent complement to our mission and desire to support programs that prevent summer loss for all of our students and help accelerate their learning and achievement.”

About MVP Health Care

MVP Health Care is a nationally recognized, community-focused, not-for-profit health insurer serving more than 700,000 members in New York and Vermont. Committed to the complete well-being of its members, MVP provides the tools and information they need to achieve better health and peace of mind. For more information, visit, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at @MVPHealthCare.