Local YMCA director speaks to migrant education group in Charleston

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Kaylin Garst, Executive Branch Director of the Wardle Family YMCA located in Port Royal, was a featured speaker at The Interstate Migratory Education Council Meeting held Jan. 22-24 in Charleston.

The Interstate Migrant Education Council (IMEC) is nationally-recognized organization that consists of prominent individuals who volunteer their time and expertise to enhance educational opportunities for migrant students who are without a natural advocacy group.

The January meeting was attended by representatives from 23 states including staff from the S.C. Department of Education and Deputy State Superintendent John R. Payne.

Garst’s presentation titled “Making More Possible” highlighted the YMCA’s successful Migrant Summer Education Camp held annually for children of seasonal migrant workers and Out of School Youth (OSY), who are in Beaufort County while working the local summer produce harvest.

Payne commented that, “Garst’s presentation not only reflected her knowledge and dedication, but equally showed a national audience the great work we are doing in South Carolina.”

The presentation explained the YMCA program and how the Y’s existing areas of focus; youth development, healthy living and social responsibility are incorporated in the daily activities of the campers and OSY participants. It also focused on the benefits of operating a Migrant Education Program (MEP) through a YMCA as well as the importance of involving community partners in order to enhance the camp experience, including authentic education applications.

The presentation embraced the importance of celebrating accomplishments that many times result in powerful moments for the campers, volunteers and staff. Moments many remember and value the rest of their lives.

Francisco Garcia, Executive Director of the IMEC added that Garst’s presentation was “very focused and provided meeting participants with a very good understanding of S.C.’s educational and mission for educating all children including migrant children.” He added that, “She demonstrated a commitment for educational equity while showing that with coordination of services much could be accomplished. The information (she) shared contributed to the overall success of the meeting.”