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Myles Abernathy drawing at the East Rochester BASP program.

It’s never too early to become an artist. It’s also never too early to become a philanthropist. 
Children in our Before and After School Program (BASP) are doing just that. Students across the YMCA of Greater Rochester’s 20 school districts involved in BASP are getting their best artwork together for the Artists-in-Training Showcase taking place on May 11 at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. 
Considering the showcase will contribute to the YMCA of Greater Rochester’s Annual Campaign, Terrence McElduff, Vice President of Youth Enrichment, says that the Artists-in-Training Showcase is not only to display the artwork that the children in BASP create but also to highlight the reach of this division across the Association. 
“Our programs want to raise funds for the Annual Campaign to ensure no child is turned away from our services,” said McElduff.  
“And if we can do that by doing something fun and showing off the amazing things our kids and staff do together each day, what better way? Also, providing families the opportunity to connect at one of the premier family destinations in Rochester outside of BASP is an added benefit to this event.” 
Ari Till, BASP Site Coordinator at East Rochester Elementary School, enjoys being able to provide the children he works with the opportunity to cultivate their dreams with art. 

“I’m very excited because I had a similar opportunity when I was a little kid,” said Till. “I got an award that allowed my art to be shown at Rochester Institute of Technology. If I can extend that opportunity to the kids that I work with, then that’s a great thing.” 
Till describes BASP as “more than childcare." He notes that it is an opportunity to learn, grow and develop as an individual, as well as showing the next generation the importance of being a part of your community. That is why he is elated to bring the next set of artists to this year’s event. 
“The Artists-in-Training Showcase is an opportunity to build self-confidence and to be self-motivated,” said Till. “At the same time, we do a group project, so it’s also an opportunity to be a part of a team. I’m really excited about the opportunity to show families that we’re doing huge projects with the kids that mean more than just spending time at the Y.” 
Mason, 8, is part of the East Rochester site. He likes BASP because of the students he gets to become acquainted with and he thoroughly enjoys the activities the kids get to do there. It may be his first time taking part in the Artists-in-Training Showcase, but Mason has an idea of what he will be putting on display on May 11. 
“I’ve been working on drawing Pokémon,” said Mason. “I did one drawing of Gengar and one drawing of Arceus.” 
Mason is showing to be a young philanthropist at heart. He has been selling fortune tellers and donated the proceeds to the YMCA of Greater Rochester’s Annual Campaign. He’s got well over 100 in stock, so he’s hoping he can sell many more so he can keep giving back to the Y.

Mason poses in front of his Pokemon drawings

His friend Myles, 10, says that he enjoys being a part of BASP because he gets to see his classmates, play games, and have fun every day. Aside from playing outside, he says his favorite part of BASP is getting to draw, particularly video game consoles and characters from ‘Minecraft.’ 
That is why Myles is looking forward to being a part of the art show once again. 
“It makes me feel good because lots of people get to see my artwork,” said Myles. “It lets kids show off their artwork and have fun.” 
Knowing that the funds that will be raised at the event will be used towards the YMCA of Greater Rochester’s latest Annual Campaign, Myles said that giving back like this is very “kind.” 
“It’s great to see that art can make a big difference in the world,” said Myles.

East Rochester BASP children hold up the giant Y project they created in 2023.

Last year, Myles had the idea of creating a comic book enterprise. He and his fellow students contributed to the project by using their painted handprints to build up a giant Y. He and his brother, Finn, 8, were lucky enough to bring the artwork home.

Their father, Chad Abernathy, takes much pleasure in seeing his kids being a part of BASP. Whether it’s his kids playing games they’ve never played before or learning about different forms of art, Chad takes pride in knowing the care they receive in the program. 
“They get an opportunity to be around both kids they may know in school and others they may not know in their grade,” said Chad.  
“And I think for me as a parent, it’s really important for the leadership they get to work with, like Ari and his team. They’ve had a huge impact on the growth and success of the program. Because it’s reflected in the children, and when someone really does care about the program, and wants to grow it, and really wants to be a part of it, I think the kids really enjoy being a part of it.” 

You were right, Ari; BASP is more than childcare.