Haverhill Y Opens ‘STEAM Lab’ After-School Learning with Covanta Help

At the Haverhill YMCA’s recent STEAM Lab ribbon cutting were, from left, school Superintendent Margaret Marotta, Covanta Area Asset Manager Mark Van Weelden, Northshore YMCA Regional Executive Director Tracy Fuller and City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua. (Courtesy photograph.)

The Haverhill YMCA’s before- and after- school programs—notably its new STEAM Lab—recently received a boost from Covanta’s energy-from-waste facility.

When Covanta first learned of plans for the additional program, the company promised, “when you build it, we will support it.” The Y’s Regional Executive Director Tracy Fuller explains the company came through.

“We’re very grateful that when we had our ribbon cutting for our STEAM Lab, that Mark (Van Weelden) presented us with a check for $10,000 to increase and expand the investment that we’ve already made in the program,” Fuller told WHAV.

“As an area resident, I know how vital the Haverhill YMCA is to the community. The STEAM initiative takes their afterschool program to new heights,” said Covanta Haverhill Facility Manager Bill Zaneski.

STEM—which stands for science, technology, engineering and math—is a primary focus in education circles. The YMCA has added an “A” for arts at its downtown Winter Street location. In fact, Fuller adds, students find education is fun.

“We see a high level of engagement. We see a low number of behavior issues because they’re really enjoying the time they’re spending together and having fun doing it without really realizing that they are learning,” she said.

The program offers an added benefit, especially during the storms of the last few days, when children are off from school while parents still have to work.  “We have opportunities for all students, regardless of income, to come to our after-school program and have a quality experience while parents are working and basically continue the learning that happens at school, but in a little more fun, enrichment way.”

Before school programs begin at 6:30 a.m., while after-school programs run until 6 p.m.

Besides Covanta, the Y’s STEAM Lab received support from the Cabot Foundation allowing the space to be built out and providing tables and materials that otherwise would be unaffordable.

To learn about enrollment, those interested may call Cathy Wolf at 978-374-0506, ext. 1623.

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