Provides free after school programs for elementary and middle-school aged youth, programs including academics, enrichment activities, and health and fitness. The ASAS Columbus program serves at several Columbus City School locations (specific schools are listed on their website as they change from time to time).
1743 West Lane Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43221
ASAS Columbus: columbusasas.org
ASAS Ohio: asasohio.org
The community-based program matches children ages 5 to 14 with an older Big Brother or Big Sister friend. The school-based program in Franklin, Union and Delaware counties allows students to meet once a week at their school with a mentor who can help them reach career and academic goals. In Franklin County, they reach out to Spanish-speaking youth and families through their Hispanic Mentoring Program.
Offers a low-cost outdoor leadership program for Franklin County youth ages 9 to 12. Based at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park just west of downtown Columbus, Bold Columbus provides fun and educational experiences, including group challenges, leadership training, team games, nature education, arts and crafts, outdoor cooking and more.
Park Address: 1775 Darby Creek Drive, Galloway, Ohio 43119
Serves youth ages 6 through 18 from across the city. For a low cost, the nationally-acclaimed Club provides members with access to after-school and summer programming oriented around three pillars: Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyles, and Good Character & Citizenship. Club members have access to tutoring, gym space, teen-specific areas, field trips, career-readiness opportunities, and mentoring.
The Open Shelter provides dinner and other emergency needs. Dinner is served through the Manna Cafe’. Call for serving times and days. They also provide holiday assistance, emergency assistance, and host their Heart of the City CDF Freedom Schools’ summer program.
501 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Heart of the City Freedom School: broadstreetumc.net/hocfs
Camp Corral is a free summer camp for military children ages 8 to 15. Priority enrollment is given to children of wounded, disable or fallen servicemen and servicewomen. The camp is a week-long helps kids learn new skills, build character and make new friends while enjoying the outdoors. Complete their online application for enrollment or call the hotline below for more information.
801 North West Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27603
Camp Kesem at The Ohio State University (OSU) supports children in the Columbus community whose parent has cancer, by providing a free summer camp experience and year-long peer support. Camp Kesem is operated by student volunteers and serves approximately 150 campers ages 6-16 every year.
PO Box 3501, Columbus, Ohio 43210
APPS is a violence reduction program offered to youth ages 14 to 21, living in zip codes 43207, 43203, 43223, and 43211 evening activities. The recreation centers located in these zip codes are open until 10 pm to keep the youth occupied with arts, educational and recreational activities. Gang and violence mediation and intervention are also provided.
1111 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205
Capital Kids offers academic programs and a safe place to learn and play after school and during the summer for a very low cost. Children can get homework help, tutoring and a nutritious snack and/or hot meal. They also offer anger management, substance abuse, violence prevention and recreation and enrichment activity (like field trips, drama and art) programs are offered. Visit the website to apply to the program.
City Leaders offers City of Columbus middle-school youth, ages 10-15, the opportunity to gain real life skills by working on projects and attending exciting events that will guide them towards becoming positive leaders in their communities. They meet different people and see different places throughout the city. Participants will need to be recommended by their principal, assistant principal or teacher in order to be considered.
1111 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205
The School’s Out summer program allows youth to take part in a variety of activities all day, throughout the week, at Columbus community centers. It is designed to meet the needs of working parents.
The Columbus Urban League (CUL) is a community‐based, non‐profit, advocacy organization that works to empower African Americans and marginalized groups through economic, educational and social progress with programs, classes and services. There initiatives fall under six categories:
788 Mount Vernon Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43203
CND’s elementary and middle school youth services include: Young Ambassadors for Peace (YAP) an anti-bullying, violence prevention and leadership development program for schools and a summer day camp, job readiness, secondary education and employment opportunities. Their high school youth services include: job readiness programs, mentorship, an annual historically black college and university tour and a violence intervention program. CND offers emergency support services on a case-by-base basis, parenting services and addiction counseling for adults.
Has nearly 2,000 acres of plant collections, gardens, hiking trails and natural areas for people to explore. They offer summer day camps, homeschool programs and workshops for young children. Scholarships are available.
7770 Jacksontown Road Southeast, Newark, Ohio 43056
(740) 323-2355 or Toll-free (800) 443-2937
Program: DFYF offers youth and their families mental, emotional and behavioral health programs and services. Licensed social workers and counselors provide counseling and clinical treatment programs addressing a range of issues including school concerns, sexual abuse, delinquency, domestic violence, family conflict, substance abuse and mental health issues. They also offer parenting classes, free kindergarten readiness programs and after-school and summer programs at their two youth centers.
Eligibility: male and female, ages vary per program
Cost: government insurance (Medicaid, Molina, Caresource), private insurance and self-pay (sliding scale fees based on income); most programs are free
Referral: individuals may refer themselves or be referred by someone else for the counseling programs, for psychiatric services they need to be referred through a Directions for Youth counselor
Intake: (614) 294-2661
Provides several services to the Ethiopian community in central Ohio, as well as African, Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants. Services include after school programs and mentoring, youth leadership opportunities, college preparation and summer programs for youth. They provide ESOL services for adults as well.
Offer free adult education classes (like GED preparation, ESOL, job training, computer lab) with free childcare services and transportation, community engagement programs, health and wellness programs and services, and youth programming (like after school homework help, mentoring, summer programs, internships and career exploration).
303 East Sixth Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201
280 Reeb Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43207 (Only adult education and workforce development)
Greater Hilltop Area Shalom Zone is a faith-based, non-profit organization based in Columbus’ Hilltop community. Some of their programs include a teen club, teen free store, basketball at their gym, their no-cost Westside CDF (Children’s Defense Fund) Freedom School, mentoring program, produce distribution, free legal clinic and more.
Westgate United Methodist Church
61 South Powell Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43204
33 North Grubb Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Offer fun, healthy safe experiences during the school year and throughout the summer, building academic, career, artistic, and physical strengths for boys of color ages 9-15 years old from zip codes 43206 or 43207 whose families earn 200% of poverty or less. Many activities overlap with Columbus Urban League initiatives, placing the young men in summer internships, hands-on digital learning opportunities, drug, alcohol and violence prevention activities and other initiatives based upon their individual needs.
33 West Eleventh Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201
Offers a tuition-free youth jazz program, focusing on listening, learning and performing jazz. They also provide band and vocal classes, workshops, summer programs and group performances.
734 East Long Street, Columbus, Ohio 43203
Is a soccer mentoring program that offers year-round soccer camps and health education for at-risk boys and girls ages 4 to 18. The cost is free, including uniforms and equipment.
340 North Twenteth Street, Columbus, Ohio 43203
The King Arts Complex offers a visual and performing arts summer camp and “school break” camps for children ages 5 to 13. They also offer free after-school and Saturday arts programs.
867 Mount Vernon Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43203
(614) 645-5464 or (614) 645-0676
LEAD is a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education and financial literacy organization serving Franklin and Delaware County 3rd – 12th grade students. They offer programs including STEM clubs, workshops, leadership training, summer camps, and mentoring. Their E-STEM Chapter gives youth an opportunity to be exposed to STEM and business concepts. Some services are free. Scholarships are available.
PO Box 361061, Columbus, Ohio 43236
Current 9th and 10th grade students who attend or whose home Columbus City School is South or Marion-Franklin are able to have homework help, cultural field trips, college tours, test prep, career exposure, a six-week college-going experience with work-study opportunities and more. This program is free for eligible students. Visit the website for more information and how to apply.
700 Children’s Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43205
Offers several free services to the Hispanic community including:
100 East Campus View Boulevard, Columbus, Ohio 43235
Works with families and children, farmers and business owners, community leaders and elected officials to build better lives, better businesses and better communities in Ohio. Many programs fall into four categories, including;
LiFEsports is a free youth development program dedicated to serving economically disadvantaged children in the Columbus community. Their programs include a sports summer camp for youth ages 9 to 15, a youth leadership academy preparing youth ages 15-18 for college and future careers and community-based sports clinics throughout the year. Transportation is free to all campers via buses.
2400 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, Ohio, 43210
Supports military kids through activities and programming specifically targeted to youth of the guard and reserve. Programs include camps for youth and teens, family workshops and free days at the zoo. Most programs are free or for a very nominal price. Programs are open to all Ohio military members.
2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43210
This free program focuses on academic achievement in the areas of math and reading for students in grades 1 though 8. Program participants receive tutoring, proficiency test preparation and personal development during the school year and summer.
Offers free service learning programs to schools with students ages 8 to 14 years old and through family programs for youth ages 5 to 14 years old. Their programs provide positive outcomes for students in areas of critical thinking, research and observation skills, civic engagement, leadership and teamwork.
16 Orchard Lane, Columbus, Ohio 43214
Offers programming and connects families facing suburban poverty in Hilliard to resources. Programs include a free summer lunch program, a free Family ESL Program including ESL classes for adults and academic support for children, a legal clinic, a monthly job readiness clinic, winter coat store and more.
Upper Arlington Lutheran Church (UALC) at Mill Run
3500 Mill Run Drive, Hilliard, Ohio 43026
Provides a variety of services for Somali youth and adults.
3422 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43224
After school programs, summer programs, youth employment programs, tutoring and early childhood care from ages 6 weeks old to 4 years old are provided for at-risk youth living in the Linden area. They also have a Choice Food Pantry, community garden, bike loan program, Christmas gift programs and family services.
1500 East Seventeenth Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43219
SURGE Columbus provides free programs to teens to allow them to discover or pursue their interests by connecting them with mentors, digital and cultural resources, and each other. Open studio, one day workshops, drop-in hours and scheduled events give the teens hands-on experience and professional supervision.
The weekly school-based mentoring program pairs Upper Arlington, Marble Cliff and Grandview Heights teen mentors with children enrolled in the after school programs in the Upper Arlington and Grandview Heights school districts. They award at least two college scholarships each year to volunteer teen mentors and also offer several summer camp opportunities.
3600 Tremont Road, Upper Arlington, Ohio 43221
Offers after-school, in-school and summer youth programs, family needs assistance, reentry programs, counseling services, drug treatment, crisis intervention and more. Visit the website for a detailed description of their services.
510 East Mound Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
YMCA provides programs focused on 3 areas: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. Their programs, services and initiatives are for men, women and children of all ages. Visit the website or contact a YMCA center for more information.
Full Facility Branches
Early Childhood Resource Network+ (ECRN+)
YMCA Administrative Offices: 40 West Long Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Provide affordable housing for women recovering from drug-related, alcohol-related, and mental illnesses. Services include: wellness and recovery support, computer and internet access, employment assistance, financial literacy classes, GED program and more. The YWCA Family Center provides emergency shelter and critical services including, family assistance, family advocacy, childcare, employment and resource center to help central Ohio families find housing. The YWCA Kids Place offers affordable childcare during the school year and summer programs for families in Gahanna and Westerville school districts. They also provide leadership training for high school girls and women in their 20’s.