Ellen Clippinger founded AYS in 1980 with one after-school program at IPS #70. Ellen served as President/CEO from the beginning until her retirement on March 31, 2014. She worked tirelessly to expand the scope of services offered by AYS, while ensuring that programs offered adhered to national standards. Her thoughtful leadership for 34 years made AYS a respected organization in central Indiana.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, she was actively involved in establishing Indiana legislation to ensure children and youth had access to safe and enriching programs. She assisted legislators in establishing the School Age Child Care fund and testified for Step Ahead legislation. Ellen has served on the Indiana Board for the Coordination of Child Care Regulation and previously chaired the Marion County Step Ahead Council.
Ellen was a long-time board member of the National School-Age Care Alliance (NSACA), which is now the National Afterschool Association (NAA), and is a past president. During her term as president in the late 1990s, she oversaw the introduction of national standards and an accreditation process for after-school programs and attended the White House Conference on Child Care in 1998. Last year, Ellen was recognized by NAA as a leader in the out-of-school time programming movement at the local, state, and national level and was awarded the 2013 Flame of Inspiration Award.
Ellen co-chaired the out-of-school time committee for the Central Indiana Talent Alliance and was actively involved with several state and local organizations, including the Indiana YouthPRO Association, Indiana Afterschool Network and Afterschool Coalition of Indianapolis. Ellen touched many in the youth work community, but the people she influenced the most were the ones who worked with her on a daily basis.
When Ellen retired as President/CEO in March 2014, the agency served nearly 2,000 children each year at 37 school-age and four early childhood sites in five Central Indiana counties.
Upon Ellen’s retirement, the AYS board of directors renamed the Financial Assistance Fund in her honor. This fund enables low-income, working families to send their children to AYS programs with the assistance of scholarships.