Connecting with Community: MCCOY

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Inside the gym at Concord Neighborhood Center, a group of kids is hard at work.

“We are finding numbers in magazines and newspaper and we’re writing it down on a piece of paper,” says third-grader Sidney Graham.

Their teachers take lessons the kids learn in school and find new ways to reinforce them.

“I’m working on addition with the kindergartners by using flashcards,” says Youth Development worker Hallie Robbins. “They of course learn addition, but they don’t learn it with flashcards at school.”

Hundreds of programs just like this happen all over the city every summer and the Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY) is helping you find them.

MCCOY was created as an independent non-profit in 1993 to be the coordinating body for youth-services in Central Indiana. MCCOY supports educators, trains youth workers and advocates for public policy for kids and families.

“We’re kind of like the infrastructure,” says MCCOY President John Brandon. “Sometimes you can think of us as being the skeleton on which all of the muscles and skin hangs together – we support the groups doing the work.”

MCCOY publishes a comprehensive Youth Activity Directory every year to highlight 170 summer programs for your kids, including listings for volunteer opportunities, museums, indoor and outdoor programs, and more.

“That’s 170 programs that serve somewhere around 32,000 or 33,000 young people in the summer, providing them safe places to go, making sure they have activities that keep their brains alive,” says Brandon.

Brandon explains those programs are supported through the Summer Youth Program Fund – which raises about $3 million annually by local businesses and charitable groups.

“Those programs really help the kids have a memorable summer that prepares them to start school the next year ready to go,” says Brandon.

To request a copy of the Youth Activity Directory, click here.

Austin Spratt, 11, has been coming to a summer program at Concord Neighborhood Center for eight years.

“My favorite part about coming here is the activities and the stuff we do,” says Spratt. “We learn about not doing drugs and careers, and every Friday is a free day.”

Another strength of MCCOY is the sense of community it has created among youth workers who are able to network during monthly workshops to share successful ideas.

“It’s really important to us here to do a good job,” says Robbins. “MCCOY helps us to do a good job.”

Robbins names specific training from MCCOY that has proved helpful, including how to incorporate arts, mental health training, as well as different professional developmental opportunities.”

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