Be Me: After School Program at the Y

Registration for the 2020-21 school year is open for Learning Labs participants.
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What is Be Me?

Be Me is a community-oriented after school program open to students of all backgrounds in grades K-5. Our program offers a variety of activities led by experienced specialists and well-trained group leaders to make sure your children are safe, engaged, and happy.

During our community-building time and our enrichment activities, students are exposed to values that teach them that their actions matter and have an impact in the world. By intentionally connecting our activities to values, we enable our students not only to have an awesome time, but also to learn new sets of skills and that will help them growth in a safer and more engaging environment. If this sounds like the type of program you would like for your child, then Be Me is right for you!

Why should your family choose Be Me?

We are guided by our values.

The Y is a non-denominational Jewish institution that has been an anchor in the community through its many changes. At Be Me, we acknowledge the many different backgrounds under our roof, and we strive to foster a sense of community in our staff, students, and families.

Every school year, the Y’s Youth and Family department highlights a value for each month that will guide us during program. In addition to this, Be Me students are taught two Hebrew words each month. Each of the values and Hebrew words reflect what is going on in the world and coincide with the relevant calendar events. This past year, 2019-2020, we selected the following:

Month Value Hebrew (Translation)
September Welcoming Chaverim (friends) & Ma'nishma (What's Up)
October Anti-Bullying - Mensch Makers Mensch (good person) & Ruach (spirit)
November Gratitude & Service Kehilla (community) & Todah (thank you)
December Lights Ohr (light) & Simcha (joy)
January Social Responsibility Olami (global) & Yallah (let’s go)
February Reflection Me’ah (100) & Hadash (new)
March Imagination Yom Huledet (birthday) & Rosh (head)
April Growth Seder (order) & Aviv (spring)
May Honor Kavod (honor) & Lizkor (to remember)
June Celebration Shalem (complete) & Sof (end)
We are building community.

Our universally-shared Jewish values inform the environment we cultivate and infuse the programs we offer, helping children of all backgrounds become better people and community members. Students begin their day at Be Me in their community homeroom, where they are grouped according to their school grade. Homeroom is a place where students have the opportunity to socialize with their peers, enjoy a nutritional snack, and engage in a fun community-building activities based on the value of the month. In these activities students build connections, develop a sense of identity and respect, and learn about the rich diversity that surrounds them. After homeroom, all Be Me students transition to afternoon rally, where everyone comes together for special announcements and the showcasing of homeroom projects to the entire Be Me community. On Fridays we end our week with a singing and dancing celebration, reflecting with one another on the hard work that brought us to the end of the week, and looking toward the next week together.

Additionally, each year, Be Me runs a series of student leadership programs that provide students with opportunities to learn from their peers, develop meaningful relationships, and build a strong community across the program. As an example, through the Be Me Mentoring Program, fourth and fifth grade mentors are matched with kindergarten-through-second-grade mentees to provide assistance with activity participation and peer interactions during one of the mentee’s activities every other week. Similarly, in our Be Me Student Council, fourth and fifth grade council members work together with each other and Be Me Leadership staff to plan and run initiatives across Be Me. Each age group has a specific program or project that fosters leadership skills, relationship building, developing responsibility, and being positive role models in their community.

We believe in family engagement.

At the Y, we recognize family involvement is crucial in creating a successful after school program. To provide the best enrichment environment, we want to understand and get to know our children and their families beyond the after school hours. Family communication is very important to us, which is why our team checks in with our families at times that are convenient for our families. In addition to this, Be Me’s leadership hosts a Welcome Back Night at the beginning of the year and numerous “Community Schmoozes” where families are invited to get to know one another - and of course our team - over wine and bite-sized treats! We are also very proud to offer end-of-semester Showcases where children perform what they have learned throughout the semester.

We ensure staff quality.

We make sure to provide the highest standards in quality care and enrichment in our program, which is why all our staff go through extensive training before and throughout the school year, significantly beyond the 15 hours required by New York State or childcare professionals. Additionally, given our commitment to inclusion, our staff are trained to support students of all abilities (see below). You can rest assured that your child is in good hands in Be Me. We consistently meet or exceed the required ratios of 10 to 1 on-site, and 5 to 1 on field trips.

Our full-time team of after school professionals includes a dedicated Program Director, an Inclusion Coordinator, and a Jewish Education Specialist. In addition to our full-time team, Be Me has two Assistant Directors for grades K & 1 and 2-5, Group Leaders, Activity Specialists and providers all, whom make our program wonderful. Our Be Me program is supervised by the Y’s Chief Program Officer.

We are an inclusive program.

At Be Me, we recognize that the recreational nature of after school provides unique opportunities for children of all abilities to socialize and to learn together. Whether a child receives general education or special education, we believe all children should be able to access the full opportunities and benefits of participating in an after school program. Our inclusive model ensures that children with mild and moderate cognitive, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities are provided the supports and accommodations they need in order to thrive in activities alongside their peers.

Visit our Inclusion Programs page to learn more about Be Me’s inclusive model. Please contact our Inclusion Coordinator, Lauren Summerill, for more information regarding inclusion at Be Me.

We offer variety of high quality programming.

Our enrichment activities are unique as we offer a variety of choices similar to the Camp Twelve Trails model, which are the following: Play (sports and fitness), Create (arts and drama), Discover (science and technology), Explore (outdoor-style & adventure), and Grow (environmental). This allows your child’s schedule to be based on their preferences and allows them to explore new areas of interest throughout the year. Most Be Me activities are available to you at no additional charge. Participation in certain specialized activities, however, might require an extra fee.

We put families' convenience first.

We bus from school to Be Me, and offer bussing back home from Be Me. We pick up from PS 152, PS 178, PS 187, PS 278, Amistad, Dos Puentes, Muscota... and any other school above 168th Street and below 218th, as long as we have enough 5-day registrants to send a bus. In addition, we provide coverage on half-days for no additional charge to students registered for the day(s) on which a half-day falls. Be Me only provides half-day programs within the Department of Education's academic calendar and those of PS 187.

We see the big picture.

We recognize the importance of the after school hours in a child's healthy development. Be Me is not simply childcare, it is a community program full of warm and attentive adults committed to positively shaping students' after school experience and character.

Studies show that students who participate in a high-quality after school program, like Be Me, have fewer absences from school, better study habits, lower rates of obesity, higher homework completion rates, greater participation in class, and fewer behavioral problems.

At Be Me, we align our program with the best practices laid out by the New York State Network for Youth Success. Twice a year, we use the Network's Quality Self Assessment (QSA) tool to do an internal audit of Be Me: we ask our stakeholders, students, staff, parents, and school-partners, "How are we doing?"  We use that feedback to make the program better.


Frequently Asked Questions

What does a day at Be Me look like?

After homeroom students go to activity (Mondays through Thursdays) or select the club of their choice (Fridays).

Sample Schedule

Time Activities
2:30 - 3:30 Students arrive at the Y by bus and by foot (arrival time varies by school) and head to homeroom
3:30 - 4:00 Homeroom (healthy snack, community activity). Swim bus departs to Riverdale Y at 3:30
4:00-4:15 Afternoon rally (announcements and student transition to their selected activity)
4:15-5:15 Enrichment activity period
5:15-5:30 Student transition to dismissal (bus home or pick-up at the Y). Swim bus returns to Y at 5:30
5:30 Parents/guardians pickup students from Y
5:30-5:35 Buses depart the Y to take students enrolled in Busing home (not available on Fridays)
5:30-6:15 All students enrolled in Late Care are picked up from Y (not available on Fridays; there is no busing home following Late Care)
When do I select my classes?

The Be Me year is split into two semesters, the first running from September to January and the second from February to June.  All classes are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Enrollment for enrichment activities are typically available a month before the semester begins. Students commit to activities for the full semester. Alterations to your child’s schedule can be made during our grace periods. Be sure to review our Terms and Conditions.

What schools do you pick up from?

We currently offer pick-ups at PS 152, PS 178, PS 187, PS 278, Amistad, Dos Puentes, and Muscota. The Y is open the possibility of providing pick-ups from other school above 168th Street and below 218th as long as we have enough 5-day registrants to send a bus.

When is pick-up at the Y?

Pickup from the Y is at 5:30pm. In order to minimize disruptions, we ask that students are picked up between 5:15 and 5:30pm. IMPORTANT: In order to ensure appropriate ratios, staff members will not be able to wait downstairs with your child until you arrive. Similarly, as a safety measure, students cannot be brought outside the premises of the Y for pick-up. Please be prepared to present an ID if asked by a Y staff member.

Do you offer bus home and how does it work?

Yes, Be Me families have the option to register for busing home Monday through Thursday for an additional fee (see below). Our buses depart the Y at 5:35pm. When you register for busing home, you are asked to provide a drop-off location. That location is where we will drop off your child to an authorized adult at the end of the day. Children 10 and older may "self-dismiss" from the bus with written consent from a parent/guardian. Your drop-off location must be south of 218th St. and north of 168th St. The order of our drop offs are created by our bus drivers and are non-negotiable. Expect your child to return home on the bus between 5:45-6:15pm. An estimated time of arrival will be emailed to you prior to the beginning of the school year. Bus drop off is not available on Fridays.

End-of-day transportation is optional and is not available for students enrolled in Late Care.

Days Price
4 $650  
3 $600  
2 $550  
1 $450  
Do you offer late care after Be Me?

We offer late care Monday through Thursday until 6:15 for an additional fee (see below). Late Care is not available on Fridays and there is no bussing home following Late Care.

Days Price
4 $650  
3 $600  
2 $550  
1 $450  
Can I add someone to the list of authorized pickups?

Of course you can, just email the adult's name and phone number to us at

How much does Be Me cost?

Tuition is based on the number of days per week your child is enrolled at the Y. Yearly tuition includes the cost of one-way transportation from school. Rates below are for the full 2019-2020 school year. Family Membership is optional, but purchasing membership entitles you to lower tuition rates and other benefits.

Days Member Price Community Price
5 $4,000 $4,300
4 $3,700 $4,000
3 $3,150 $3,450
2 $2,650 $2,850
How are payments for Be Me made?

The sum of your yearly tuition, transportation, and Late Care / Busing (less applicable discounts) will be paid in 10 equal monthly installments from August through May. An initial non-refundable deposit of $250 is required at registration and will be applied towards the first installment. Additional fees for selected Premium Activities for each semester will be spread out across five payments of 20% each.

Do you offer Financial Assistance?

We do award partial scholarships based on need. Download the application for financial assistance by clicking here. We will only consider an application for Financial Assistance after a $250 deposit has been paid and Be Me’s registration form has been completed and submitted. Incomplete applications (i.e. those missing information or requested documents) will not be considered. For 2019-2020, the application deadline is July 12, 2019.

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