At the Y, we understand that learning doesn’t end when the school bell rings. The way your children spend time outside of the classroom can make a big difference in their personal development and your family-life balance. The YMCA’s before and after school Kid Zone Program provides a safe place for children to keep their mind and body active while learning social skills and positive values.
Leading the before and after school team at the Smith Family YMCA, located at 1350 S. Briggs Street in Joliet, you will find Darren Callahan. Callahan joined the Y’s leadership team last September as the Smith Family YMCA’s new Before and After School Care Director.
Callahan’s Y journey began in late 2017 when he made a food delivery to the Joliet YMCA. During his drop-off, he noticed that the YMCA was hiring bus drivers for its Kid Zone Program. Seeing this as a great opportunity, Callahan filled out an application on the spot. Immediately, Callahan demonstrated a true passion for making an impact in the lives of every child that stepped onto bus number nine.
Since joining the Y’s staff team, Callahan has worked diligently to give local youth and families an outstanding experience when it comes to before and after school care. He and his staff team have an exciting school year planned, which will officially kick-off next week.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Callahan: I was born and raised in Chicago, IL and I come from a very big family—I have 13 siblings to be exact. I am also a twin. I attended summer camp for two weeks every summer as a child—I loved it. I went to Calumet High School and attended California State University, Fullerton where I earned a degree in business education.
Q: What makes the Y an exceptional before and after school care provider?
Callahan: At the Y, parents can rest assured that their children are spending their time before and after school in a relaxed and safe environment. And, our staff is here to support each of our Kid Zone participants by being their mentor and/or a ‘listening ear.’
Q: What do you have planned for Kid Zone during the 2019/2020 school year?
Callahan: We are very excited to be serving elementary school students in the Joliet, New Lenox, Elwood, Laraway, Union and Fairmont school districts this year. And, we will be introducing ‘STEM’ Fridays to our program, which will support our students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
Callahan: At a young age, I learned to cook from my grandmother, so cooking has turned into a passion and hobby. When I am not busy at the Y, I am most likely cooking and running my catering company, What’s Your Flavor.
Q: What was your favorite subject in school?
Callahan: Biology. I remember my teacher had a kitchen in her classroom and she would cook for her students Monday through Thursday if they did well on their tests.
As a reminder, there is still time to register your child(ren) for the Y’s Before and After School Kid Zone Program for the 2019/2020 school year. To register for Kid Zone, please call or stop by your local branch today! If you have questions about Kid Zone, be sure to stop by Callahan’s office the next time you visit the Smith Family Y. Or, you can email him directly at [email protected].