Brickhouse After School Teen Program Feature Piece

“My job encompasses everything that I love: sports, wellness, fitness, social outreach, and serving other people. Those are some things I love and I love getting to wake up every day and be excited to come to work. Our mission is to provide a safe space and abundant opportunities for teens to develop positively in body mind and spirit.”

When Amber Kachelries was asked about her position as a Program Director at the Jersey Shore Branch YMCA, she was quick to dive into the love she has for her job. Kachelries leads the Brickhouse After School Teen Program, a program that provides a safe structured environment with many activities for teens including: homework support, arts & humanities, character development, service-learning, social competence, conflict resolution, and health, wellness & fitness.

“When the program first started 10 or 12 years ago, it was started by a group of kids in Jersey Shore that wanted a program like this. At that time, a board member here had suggested approaching Lycoming County United Way and making it an official program. The program at that time was not what it is today - it had a different focus and through the guidance and purpose of LCUW it has definitely become more refined, even over the last 6 years that I've been here,” said Cori Amrom, Executive Director of Jersey Shore Branch, River Valley Regional YMCA.

Amrom explained that the after school program supports more than 180 students a year and without outside support such as LCUW, the program would not be able to run.

“The fact that the United Way recognizes the benefits of our program and really wants to hop on board with us, helping us financially... they are really on board with our mission and we love the fact they are so willing to help us out,” said Kachelries.

The Brickhouse After School Teen Program offers a variety of after school activities to students of all needs and capabilities. “...this program offers a different perspective. Not every kid is going to be a part of the soccer team and not every kid is going to be part of the band,” said Amrom. This program is offered to middle school and high school students, Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 6pm.

 “It’s interesting to see the kids that come back year after year and you see their development and change. The kid that was once giving you more of behavior problems, two years later is the one telling another kid to stop doing that same thing.”