Ka’Tayia is a 10-year-old Frederick youth who struggles with anxiety. In the most recent school year her struggles affected her school attendance and performance as well as her relationships with family and peers.

Recently her mother, who lives in public housing, got in touch with an organization called City Youth Matrix that connects youth with opportunities to grow through extracurricular activities.

Ka’Tayia was connected to an ice skating camp at Skate Frederick. Her first day of camp was very challenging, as she was wrought with fears and anxiety. Through the support of her mom, the skating coaches, and through the wonderful experience of an extracurricular activity, by the end of the week she was begging mom for the chance to take an ongoing class.

“Her confidence has changed for the better when she interacts with the family at home,” said Ka’Tayia’s mom. Mom has indicated that she anticipates this experience is going to reap dividends in the classroom as well. Ka’Tayia and her mom will be members of City Youth Matrix until Ka’Tayia graduates high school.

The average monthly cost in Frederick County for youth extracurricular activities is $252. Many local families in are not in position and nor do they have the resources to enroll their children in extracurricular activities that have been proven to improve school attendance, academic performance, problem solving strategies, and social skills. This is where City Youth Matrix enters the picture.

City Youth Matrix is a Frederick nonprofit that exists to remove barriers that prevent Frederick youth from participating in extracurricular activities related to the arts, athletics, vocational, and general mentoring experiences. CYM believes that with wonderful organizations in Frederick such as The Delaplaine Arts Center, 24/7 Dance, The Kitchen Studio, Frederick Gymnastics, and many others that there isn’t a need to create programs.

Unfortunately for thousands of Frederick youth there are obstacles that keep them from experiencing the far reaching benefits of these kinds of experiences. The four identified barriers include registration, cost, transportation, and family engagement. City Youth Matrix has specific systems in place to address the needs for each barrier.

When a parent comes to CYM or when CYM gets a referral from a partnering organization they connect the parent with one of their family liaisons. After the child’s interests are determined the family liaison is there to assist the parent with registration and payment details. CYM covers 95 percent of the total costs. To assure that everyone has “skin in the game,” the parent is required to cover the remaining 5 percent of costs.

If transportation is a barrier, then CYM steps in with their trained fleet of vetted and volunteer drivers. The drivers pick up the child, accompanied by a parent or guardian, and take them to and from all events.

Finally, with the confidence that a child’s greatest hope for sustainable success is dependent on a devoted parent or guardian, CYM has a built in Family Empowerment Program that is highlighted by quarterly dinners where parents are able to share stories about their child’s extracurricular experience and draw upon resources that focus on collaborative opportunities.

Despite the rising costs of youth extracurricular activities City Youth Matrix is determined to provide equal opportunities for our most prized commodities, our children.

Through authentic experiences and empowered parents, City Youth Matrix believes our children are in position for their greatest chances for success when they are involved in ongoing extracurricular experiences. There is a lot of time outside of the school day, and City Youth Matrix is around to make sure this time is filled with enrichment.

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