Pandemic care in Massillon and Navarre

Our 2 licensed programs have special guidelines for cleaning and contact during this unprecedented time. Meet our educators ...



Tonya Price

Tonya Price is one of our YMCA caregivers who quickly changed direction on March 25th to help us function with a pandemic child-care license. Among other safety guidelines, pandemic care requires a student-teacher ration of 6 to 1. It's a different approach for everyone!

When school is in session and Ohio is functioning under different circumstances, Tonya worked in preschool day care and in our before- and after-school program. The Franklin Elementary students were her main group. You could have met Tonya through Child Watch, too, which is on-site baby-sitting while you work out. Tonya is very dependable. No wonder she's a pro in all areas of child care! We gained a valuable asset when she joined us in 2014.

For self-care, Tonya keeps it "local," getting her sweat on with Karla's Y Tribe fitness group. You'll also catch her training with boss -- and gym coach -- Jodi. When summer hits, she enjoys her pool.

Tonya has been married for 28 years. She has 3 children and 2 grandchildren. Dogs Max and Tessa round out the nest.


Danielle Smith

"I like watching the kids' faces when they have learned something new," says today's featured teacher, Danielle Smith, who grinned at the kids while they soaked up a visit with Massillon firefighters. Danielle's grandmother told her she could do anything she set her heart and mind on. Today, she gets to be that person for school-age children and preschoolers. She's passing on educational lessons as well as "being here for the kids when they need to talk."

Danielle is one of our dearly valued staff at Massillon's licensed pandemic child care. (We're using this special time to introduce you to the group of people helping with our community's essential personnel.) This mother of five -- ages 9 months to 19 years -- has worked in child care for 15 years and is pursuing a degree in early childhood education. She's been with us a little more than a year.

When she's not at the YMCA, Danielle and her family camp, fish, watch movies and play games off-screen and on. Her classroom approach isn't all that different -- it's personal and digital: "I come up with my ideas by talking with the kids to see what they are into and also off the 'Net ... or Pinterest." From what we see, it's personal and digital, engaging and effective!


Becky Ohm

For many people affiliated with the YMCA, it's a family affair. That's true of a staff couple here, too: The Ohms. Becky and Brian Ohm. This dynamic duo brings a certain electricity to the Massillon facility. We'll call it the Ohm Effect. (You can read more about Ohm's Law in your spare time.) Here is one half of that "power couple" -- Becky.

Becky has worked for the Massillon Y for more than 5 years. Under normal circumstances, she's the site director for our program at Watson Elementary in Perry. These days, she's one of our tireless teachers in pandemic child-care.

Becky loves helping children with their educational and developmental goals. You can see both her artistic streak and scientific background in class! Yesterday's project: colorfully created volcanoes that erupt lava (vinegar and baking soda). Becky has a degree in biology and paints in her spare time.

She also enjoys hiking. Becky is passionate about conservation education and wildlife. She has lots of animals at home: 2 dogs, 3 cats, 3 reptiles, and a fish.


Courteney Huth

Our child-care teachers bring remarkably creative tasks into the classroom -- activities that promote science, technology, engineering, math, as well as literacy, problem-solving, art and play. We take great pride in selecting qualified, experienced teachers for your child's care. What you might not know is just how well-educated and experienced our teachers are!

Meet Courteney Huth, professional educator and social worker, recreational country music lover and sports fan.

The woman better known around here as Mrs. Courteney has a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in social work. She is a state-licensed social worker and has worked as a school-based therapist in Massillon. At Franklin and Whitter elementaries, Courteney's focus was behavioral health. As a teacher's assistant at Gorrell Elementary, her attention moved to children with multiple disabilities. These days, Courteney's work in Massillon City Schools continues as a substitute teacher.

Courteney has been with the Y for 11 years. When we aren't hosting pandemic care, she is the site director for the before- and after-school program at Gorrell. Courteney wears another hat for the Y, managing finances for child care.

This mom to Grayson and wife of Bobby enjoys being with her family and friends, being outside and watching or playing sports.


Jodi Smer

Jodi's primary roles are child-care director and fitness director at the Massillon Family YMCA. She has a regular gig teaching group exercise classes and she subs others when needed. You never know where she'll show up with a kettlebell or weight! Most recently, Jodi is leading our pandemic care service on Tremont Avenue, helping connect families with safe options this spring.

When we reopen, it's Jodi's choice of paint color and carpet that you'll see throughout the Massillon facility, so add interior designer to the ever-evolving list of things she does, including grant proof-reader.

A little more biographical "by the numbers" info about Jodi, who has degree in early childhood education. 33 years = marriage to Rick; 30 years = time in early childhood field; 3 years = time as a SilverSneakers instructor; 3 = number of grown children; 2 = number of granddaughters; 2 = number of fur babies


Ke'Aunte Harris

We're beginning another week of pandemic care for children whose parents have essential jobs. The kids know this next teacher in our series of profiles as Miss Ke'Ke'.

She is our lead preschool teacher at Massillon Family Y, a book author, and founder of a mentoring program ... meet Ke'Aunte Tynette Harris!

Ke'Aunte has worked here for 9 years and has taught for about 12. "I love working with the preschoolers," she said, "because they are at that age where you can help shape their future."

Ke'Aunte invests in their futures after preschool, too, working with girls in our after-care program (ages 5 to 17) to instill confidence, leadership and self-love through her organization called BeYoutiful Weirdo LLC. It means "be you; be unique." It serves about 100 girls in Stark County.

"I organized this program to inform young girls and women that it is OK to just be themselves. We all have a purpose in this life. We don't have to follow trends. It's OK to be confident. It's OK to say 'no' to things that don't benefit our lives. The main thing is that it's OK to be smart and have goals."

When Ke'Aunte isn't busy trying to make the world a better place, she enjoys reading, journal-writing and meditating. In 2017, she turned her journal entries and daily reflections into a book called "A Positive Life Is a Happy Life."


Jen Durr

Jen Durr is one of our caregivers providing essential care and learning for kids whose parents have essential jobs. And Jen knows kids!

Her experience is both professional and personal. Jen has a bachelor's degree in early childhood education and taught in our area public schools for 10 years. She has 5 children and 11 grandchildren. Eleven is also the number of years she's been with the Y! She's been our site director for the before- and after-school program at Lohr Elementary for about 5 years.

When Jen isn't in the classroom or gym, you might find her reading or with friends and family. She enjoys time with her husband of 20 years and their 4 dogs. Keep an eye out for them in the '67 Firebird or on the Harley trike!


Towpath Trail in Navarre

Amanda Doubledee

Meet Miss Amanda! You may recognize her as the coordinator of Ladies Spa Night, effervescent Bingo caller, and a fellow group exercise student. Her actual title is child-care and family program director. Amanda is leading our team of caregivers for essential workers' children, and she spearheaded the recent mailing to preschool families. {What did you think about the skills goals and activity lists?!}

Amanda has worked at the Towpath Trail YMCA for almost 6 years. She has been with her husband, John, for 14 years and has an amazing son named Kadin. Amanda loves to ride her 4-wheeler, camp at Mines and Meadows, take long Harley cruises, take the top off her Jeep, all chocolate and anything that has to do with her 2 crazy dogs, family and friends.

"I love to work at the Y and feel very blessed to do what I do every day. This place is way more than a job; it's family. I feel like I belong, get to make a positive difference, and have fun while doing it. I love working for a company that supports you and encourages you to grow and be a better person. I believe in what the Y does every day, and I am honored to be part of this team. We really do make a difference and are always looking to help more!"


Maria Phillips

Meet Miss Maria. She started working at our YMCA eight years ago. She is one of our lead preschool teachers. Miss Maria likes spending time outdoors, family time especially with her twin nephews, and fishing. She has been a volunteer working with children for over ten years at her local church. She is a 4H advisor and a Jr. Fairboard advisor for Stark County. Maria's favorite author is Dr. Seuss. Her favorite event the Y holds every year is Seuss Night!

" I started working with young children because growing up I had wonderful teachers who never gave up on my education. Also I have many family members who are teachers and I knew I always loved being around children. I love the small town community here in Navarre and love that I can make a difference in others. God Bless everyone and stay healthy. See you all real soon."


Heather King

Miss Heather is an assistant preschool teacher at the Towpath Trail YMCA. She has four cats. She is part of a health and wellness company. Her favorite colors are teal and pink. In her spare time, she likes to go shopping, read, exercise, and spend time with friends and family.

"I enjoy working with children. I feel that working with children is my calling from God. I love to make a difference in others' lives!"


Molly Crock

Meet Miss Molly. Miss Molly is a new teacher here at the YMCA as the Pre-K Assistant Teacher. She loves drinking hot tea, eating black beans and enjoying much time twirling around in the great outdoors. She loves working hard with her theatre company The Luminescent Moon Theatre Company and Shooting Star Princesses.

"I love working with littles because their imaginations are enthusiastic, large and so fun to learn from and about. Kiddos give so much love so willingly and I love watching them grow. I'm thankful God is allowing me to be able to work in this time as a pandemic center worker, the kids bring a smile to my face and I hope I can do the same for them."