Y-Achievers Program

Y-Achievers is an after school program that builds on the strengths of our youth and their families with a focus on ensuring personal well-being in spirit, mind, and body. Our inclusive programming creates a caring, genuine, and safe environment.

Our goal is to ensure youth are prepared to use the 21st Century skills needed for the transition from middle school to high school and from high school to college/post-secondary life. Y-Achievers exposes youth to activities that spark their interests, develop leadership skills, and equip youth with the tools necessary to succeed. Y-Achievers meets students where they are to develop skills such as critical thinking, innovation, communication, collaboration, technology, and social understanding while building awareness and access to post-secondary possibilities.


The Y-Achievers programs are going virtual! Our first workshops begin the week of September 21 and will run for 5 weeks closing out on October 23. We want to meet your middle and high school students where they are in these times and support them as they navigate this “next normal.”


Middle and high school students. Students from Grand Rapids Public Schools, Godwin Heights Public Schools and Godfrey-Lee Public Schools will be prioritized should enrollment be full. 12 students per cohort.


Achievers programs help youth identify what success means to them and what steps they need to take to achieve their goals. In these times, our main goal is to support your student socially and emotionally. Our first workshop will focus on exploring personal interests and making connections to careers in those areas along with journaling, listening to podcasts and having discussions among other activities.


All programs will utilize Zoom and Google Classroom along with the Google Suite (Docs, Sheets, Forms, etc).


Each program will have one Zoom meeting per week. Attendance is not required but strongly encouraged. The Achievers Director will be available for office hours an additional day per week and Google Classroom will be a space for ongoing conversation as well as where documents will be uploaded.

Middle school programs will meet on Zoom on Mondays (cohort A 2:30-3:30 PM, cohort B 4:00-5:00 PM) with office hours on Wednesdays from 2:00-5:00 PM.

High school program will meet via Zoom on Tuesdays from 2:30-3:30 PM with an additional cohort from 4:00-5:00 depending on enrollment numbers. High school office hours will be on Thursdays from 2:00-5:00 PM.


We know this is a time when things can feel overwhelming for everyone in your family. Out of school time programs can help by providing an additional caring adult for your student to talk to, process emotions with and be a guide as they explore their interests. We can also help with goal-setting and building a personal plan which often lessens anxiety and helps to remain focused.

*insert web site link for Achievers. We can put the links up once we have them created in Daxko which we are working on this week.*

Questions? Contact Achievers Director Casey Stratton at cstratton@grymca.org or 616.855.9620

Y-Achievers back to school


  • To help teens raise their academic expectations.
  • Expose students to diverse career and technical education options.
  • Interact with adults whose success and knowledge will inspire students to reach their personal goals.
  • Assist teens in setting and pursuing their post-secondary goals.
  • Y-Achievers will show increased understanding and use of 21st Century skills.


David D. Hunting YMCA  |  at the branch, Burton Middle School, and Union High School
475 Lake Michigan Drive NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504  |  616.855.9622

Visser Family YMCA  |  IMPACT at the branch
3540 Fairlanes SW Grandville, MI 49418  |  616.530.9199

Lowell YMCA  |  at Lowell Middle School
1335 W. Main Street Lowell, MI 49331 |  616.897.8445

SpartanNash YMCA  |  at Godwin Heights High School and Godfrey Lee East High School
5722 Metro Way SW Wyoming, MI 49519  |  616.885.5500


Click on one of the buttons below, fill out the form, and email it to yachievers@grymca.org. (Note: to register at the Visser Family YMCA location use the IMPACT registration packet. All other locations use Y-Achievers registration packet.) 

Questions? Please email yachievers@grymca.org or call 616.855.9622.


Y-Achievers will become aware of the wide variety of post-secondary options available, including college, vocational training, and military service. Youth will develop a positive vision for the future while researching a variety of career paths, understanding personal strengths, and navigating financial aid systems.



To expose youth to vocational and skilled trade opportunities, students will participate in worksite-based learning and hear from a variety of guest speakers. Additionally, we will take visits to local businesses (including Amway, Spectrum Health, and Rockford Construction) to hear about the variety of post-secondary vocational opportunities available (including offerings at Grand Rapids Community College).


Y-Achievers will visit universities in Grand Rapids (including Davenport University, Ferris State University, and Grand Valley State University) where they will tour the campus, learn about educational offerings, and experience campus life first hand by attending campus activities. Additional college readiness activities will include financial aid workshops, essay writing workshops, and college application guidance.


Our curriculum focuses on the following measures that are linked with long-term outcomes such as higher grade point averages and standardized test scores, higher confidence, reduced behavioral problems, and longer-term gains in skills to identify, attain, and retain a career:

  • SELF-MANAGEMENT: a youth’s ability to regulate their emotions and behavior, take positive risks, and persist through life’s challenges.
  • SOCIAL SKILLS: a youth’s ability to take others’ perspectives into account, develop a sense of caring and empathy.
  • CONTRIBUTION: a youth’s positive engagement with family, community, and society to develop positive purpose and positive societal movement.
  • POSITIVE IDENTITY: an internal sense of self-worth and self-efficacy which empowers youth to make decisions for themselves and develop resiliency in the face of challenges.
  • ACADEMIC SELF-EFFICACY: a youth’s motivation and perceived mastery toward positive school performance and their general sense of hope in their capacity to attain academic success.
  • SOCIAL CAPITAL: a youth’s positive bonds with people and institutions.


Programs are delivered at sites throughout the city based on the needs of the population served. Y-Achievers meet two days a week for 1.5 hours from October to May. Programming offered during the school day follows the school calendar. Each YMCA branch is also providing the Y-Achievers program. Every staff member and volunteer is trained on the Positive Youth Development Framework, Trauma Informed approach, Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, Diversity and Inclusion and what it means to be a mandatory reporter.


Adult Achievers are a core component of the Y-Achievers program. Adult Achievers provide an opportunity to integrate a vast range of perspectives from a one-time volunteer experience to an ongoing experience a few times per month.

Adult Achievers

We are always seeking more Adult Achievers who have grown into successful adults and can give insight and support to the program participants in the following ways:

  • Assist in Y-Achievers team presentations as panel members providing valuable feedback and critique
  • Helping to guide our program content as a Career Coach
  • Connect with youth participants to ensure their experience is impactful and transformative
  • Attend field trips and college visits with Y-Achievers participants

Service hours may vary based on the needs and roles available in the program. In general, ongoing Adult Achievers should expect to dedicate around 4-8 hours monthly. Programs are offered Monday through Friday both during and after school hours. Special events field trips and college visits may take on Saturdays.

Questions? To enroll in Y-Achievers or to volunteer, please email Casey at yachievers@grymca.org