One year. It’s been one year since schools shut down. One year of quarantine. One year of face masks. One year of uncertainty.

Luckily, we can be certain of one thing: your support. Both our individual donors and community organizations came through for us over the past year, allowing us to maintain our mission by providing all-day e-learning support even when schools had to close their doors, and keeping our programs open when schools returned to session even though enrollment dropped. Not every out-of-school-time provider can say the same.

With the sunshine, warmer temperatures, and increased availability of vaccines for Indiana residents, it feels like our community is about to come back to life. While we’re still proceeding with caution and maintaining all the safety measures we’ve kept in place over the past twelve months, AYS is moving forward. Throughout this whole year, we’re proud to say we’ve always kept moving forward.

We’re currently in the middle of exciting new Spring Break programming, and we’re getting ready for some innovative initiatives later this year. Our summer programs are all about project-based learning, which will help kids get back on track academically after a very challenging year while still having a blast and creating projects they can share with their community.

We’re always looking for ways to make our summer programming more accessible to all parents, because as any parent knows, you don’t get summers off from being a mom or dad! Click here to donate to our 40th Anniversary campaign, which will go directly to our Ellen Clippinger Fund and support student attendance across all our programs. While the pandemic may be nearing the end, families are still feeling its impact and will be for years. Over this summer and the coming school year, the need for financial assistance is going to grow.

As spring rolls into summer, infection rates continue to fall, and we keep offering high-impact programming that minimizes learning loss, we can’t wait to see what the next twelve months will bring. All we know is we’ll keep moving forward together. We appreciate you.

Featured Donor: Corteva Agriscience

Thanks to a generous gift from Corteva Agriscience, a major American agricultural chemical and seed company, AYS is reinventing their program at ACE Preparatory Academy. ACE is a K-5 charter school that starts preparing students for college in kindergarten. “STEM Strong at AYS” will provide six weeks of engaging sustainability-focused STEM projects for students in AYS’ out-of-school-time program at ACE. Whether they’re learning about sustainability using Starburst candy or peer-learning through group sharing, these kids will boost their understanding of how sustainability and STEM go hand in hand. AYS is excited to provide programming that can narrow equity and achievement gaps and break down barriers to educational success in an area as crucial as STEM.

Last year, like so many organizations, families, and individuals, AYS was put to the test over and over again. Each time, we passed with flying colors. Now, we’re ready to take what we learned in 2020 and apply it to the future.
The pandemic didn’t create the issues that plagued our community in 2020, it highlighted them. Economic and racial disparities have always been there. Our goal in 2021 is to fight these issues by doing what we do best—helping families thrive. With new partnerships to build our Ellen Clippinger Fund, we’re more poised than ever to be of service to those who need it most. Click here to be one of those partners and make a difference in Hoosiers’ lives. Thanks to an extension to the COVID-19 relief bill, the same tax incentives for charitable giving from 2020 still apply.
In 2021, AYS is committed to making sure central Indiana kids don’t fall through the cracks. With new outreach and opportunities, we’re addressing the root causes of the issues COVID-19 brought to light. Social-emotional learning is going to be paramount as we transition kids from a tumultuous pandemic year to what we hope will be a new, and better, normal. Academic support will keep students on-track for their grade levels or give a boost to those who fell behind during virtual learning.
The families AYS serves are of diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and we recognize the importance of their representation in our programming. Kids need to see people who look like them in positions of authority. While we’ve always had a diverse staff, in 2021, we’re doing everything we can to make sure that we remain an attractive workplace for people of color, English-as-a-foreign-language speakers, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Thanks to supporters like you and ongoing partnerships with organizations like the Lilly Endowment, Inc., The Mind Trust, and United Way of Central Indiana, we’re reaching kids who might not otherwise be able to attend our programs. We’re so grateful for our entire AYS family, and we’re sending a huge thank-you to all of our end-of-year donors and partners.

End-of-Year Donors

Advancement Center
Amanda Borshoff
Amanda Lenz
Andrew Hedegard
Becky Pfaffenberger
Beth Eiler
Chad McCullough
Diane Pfeiffer
Elizabeth Fernandez
Faren Jones
Garrett Hall
Jeffrey Patchen
Jenny Burch
Jim McClelland
John Resley
JPMorgan Chase Foundation
Kim Donahue
Laura Tagliani
LHD Benefit Advisors
Lisa Blankman
Mary Cross

Matthew M. Green
Michelle Zipparo
Mike Lecklider
National Philanthropic Trust
Peg Sharples
Peg Zimmerman
Peggy Fisherkeller
Rebecca W. Dolan Ph.D.
Robyn Baker
Rose Stark
Sablosky Family Foundation
Sally Zweig
Sandy Dale
Sarah Million / Hylant
Scott Gilchrist
Susan Hall
Susan Humphrey
Tanya Hoover
The Mind Trust
United Way of Central Indiana

Featured Donor: Susan Humphrey

In November and December 2020, Susan Humphrey needed a safe, enriching environment where her foster son could go during the school day. Luckily, AYS was there for her. Susan generously donated a day’s worth of his tuition to AYS, explaining that she wanted to give back because she was “so grateful” to have AYS when she needed us. We’re here to support families of all kinds whenever they need it, from foster families to grandparents and single moms, and we’re humbled that Susan appreciated us enough to donate to our cause.

For working parents, discovering At Your School (AYS) can feel like a miracle. Jennifer Dzwonar, former AYS parent, literally describes us as a “godsend.” AYS is a place where kids like her boys can play with friends, finish schoolwork, and get all of their bottled-up energy out before heading home for the day. Well, almost all of it.

While her kids were young, Jennifer worked four days a week for many years. But after enrolling her boys in an AYS after-school program, she was able to transition to five days a week, eventually fulfilling her goal of becoming a partner/owner at her firm. She could leave work when she felt she was ready, rather than rush out during mid-afternoon when her kids finished school. Although her boys are now 21 and 24 years old, Jennifer still feels grateful for the necessary support she received from AYS as a working mom years ago.

For 40 years, AYS has helped thousands of parents like Jennifer free up their schedules to focus on their own personal and professional goals. And now that we’ve entered the new year of 2021, ambitious goal-setting has been on all of our minds – get that promotion, go to the gym regularly, meditate more. No matter what resolution you’ve made this year, you probably need more “you” time in order to achieve it.

AYS supports you in accomplishing whatever goals you’ve set by taking away the added stressors of helping your kids finish their homework and providing them with the social-emotional support they need after a long day at school so you can focus on “you”. We provide parents with the freedom to concentrate on work, school, and other important obligations, while at the same time providing their kids with a safe space to learn and grow. It’s a win-win for working Hoosier families.

As Jennifer puts it, “AYS is a gem that fills a gap between what schools can provide and what you can provide as a working parent.” Parents are everyday superheroes that often need a break, and kids often need academic and social-emotional support out-of-school time. Filling that gap has always been our goal, and for 40 years, AYS has strived to enrich the lives of students while also allowing parents to focus on improving themselves.

There is no better time to start chasing after your dreams than right now, and enrolling your children in AYS can be the first step in achieving them. Learn more about our before- and after-school programs and enroll your kids today!

The year 2020 just won’t quit. Once again, schools are shutting down in Marion County and switching to e-learning, leaving parents scrambling. AYS believes that parents should never have to choose between their job and their family, so we’re opening four Liftoff e-learning sites that will serve as many as 400 families in Marion County. Even when every other window is dark, AYS keeps the lights on, maintaining its dedication to taking families further. Our commitment to Hoosiers is too strong to give up now.

We know families are struggling financially and emotionally. They’ve weathered this storm once, but they might not be ready to weather it again. For kids, grades are slipping as they deal with the stress of e-learning. Some parents are recovering from being out of work last spring. With only 5-10% of kids living in a home with a stay-at-home mom or dad, many need a safe and enriching place to go that supports their learning so their parents can focus on providing for the family, and AYS provides that. We successfully navigated this e-learning environment this past spring, so we’ve already proven we’re up to the task.

The truth is, e-learning support isn’t cheap. Offering full day, five-day-a-week care that includes academic enrichment, social-emotional learning, and COVID-19 safety precautions is costly for us, but we don’t want it to be costly for our families. Thanks to the generous support of the United Way of Central Indiana and The Mind Trust, AYS will be providing 95 Liftoff spots at no cost to parents, but we need your help, too. Your gift to the Ellen Clippinger Fund will allow us to offer more discounts to more families. Your support will go directly to providing a family with much-needed e-learning support. It might just keep a mom from quitting her career to stay home with her kids, or keep a child from failing a grade because of the challenges of virtual learning. Thanks to the CARES Act, you can now deduct more of your charitable gifts. Ask your tax advisor for guidance.

Our 2019-2020 fiscal year was unlike any other, and although it certainly threw us more curveballs than we have ever seen before, one thing remained constant throughout the year – AYS continued adapting and improving its services to provide safe and trusted support for Hoosier families when they needed it the most. For a recap of our year of adaptation and innovation, check out our FY20 Impact Report.

We appreciate all of the support we’ve received so far, and we’re grateful to have you in our AYS family. As we all know, it takes a village. Thanks for a being part of our village.

Warm Regards,

Chrystal Struben
President and CEO

As we kick off a school year like no other, we want to take a moment to share our gratitude for your support. Thanks to you, we’ve been able to maintain the high-quality enrichment programming you’ve come to expect from us, as well as create new ways to be of service to central Indiana families.

Your continued support matters, and you can click here to donate to our Annual Fund. Our Annual Fund helps us purchase the highest quality peer-reviewed curriculum for our programs, provide professional development that keeps our programs on the leading edge of out-of-school-time enrichment, and ensure we maintain affordable fees for service. In short, it lets us do what we do best. Keep in mind that the March 2020 CARES Act increased tax incentives for charitable giving, including an additional deduction for charitable gifts up to $300. Even if you are not itemizing your 2020 taxes, you can claim this new deduction.

Keeping kids safe and on-track is an essential need for Indiana families, and we want to keep filling it no matter what 2020 throws our way. So far, AYS has proven that we’re nimble enough to pivot when we need to and creative enough to innovate and meet new needs.

Here are some of the great milestones we’ve achieved since last spring:

  • Opened three successful emergency full-day programs for children of essential workers.
  • Launched three Liftoff e-learning support centers to offer full-day programming for youth in grades K-6, on Monday through Friday, with staff who are specially trained in e-learning.
  • Opened twenty of our traditional before-and-after school programs in central Indiana.
  • Equipped our locations and staff with the tools needed to go touchless and virtual.
  • Trained all staff in CDC protocols for a safe and healthy environment and reconfigured our program procedures for no-contact pickup, drop-off, and daily activities.

We live a new reality, and because of you, and because of our resilient staff, we know that we’ll be able to keep going. Remote learning seems to be here to stay, and parents juggling full-time jobs or finding new ones need to know their kids are getting the support they need to succeed in school. We’re here for that, and we’ll keep being here in 2020 and beyond. Our kids go further!

Last March, no one expected that we’d still be responding to the COVID-19 crisis during the 2020-2021 academic year, but if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can never know what to expect. Thank you for all you do to keep us ready for anything.