Columbus OH
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Free & Low-Cost Programs

Dawes Arboretum

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
dawesarb.org

Camp Kesem

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
(614) 908-3386
campkesem.org/ohio-state

Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program of Franklin County (UMADAOPFC)

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
(614) 227-9694
umadaopfc.com

After School All-Stars (ASAS) Ohio

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
(614) 257-1678
ASAS Columbus: columbusasas.org
ASAS Ohio: asasohio.org

Asian American Community Services (AACS)

Provides a variety of services for the Asian community:

    • After school and summer tutoring and mentoring programs for Asian Americans in grades K to 12, including educational, ESOL and college prep activities
    • Family Support Program (counseling) for victims of bullying, domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and hate crimes
    • 24-hour interpreting / translation services
    • Computer and English classes
    • Career and college development workshops
    • Free health clinic and Hepatitis B testing

4700 Reed Road, Upper Arlington, Ohio 43220
Main Line: (614) 220-4023
Interpreting Hotline: (614) 216-4988
aacsohio.org

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio

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.
1855 East Dublin Granville Road, Columbus, Ohio 43229
(614) 839-2447
bbbscentralohio.org

Bold Columbus Summer Leadership Camp

Offers a low-cost outdoor leadership program for Franklin County youth ages 9 – 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.
1775 Darby Creek Drive, Galloway, Ohio 43119
(614) 813-0351
boldcolumbus.org

Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus

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.

  • Administrative Offices
    1108 City Park Avenue, Suite 301, Columbus, Ohio 43206
    (614) 221-8830
  • J. Ashburn Jr. Clubhouse
    85 Clarendon Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43223
    (614) 221-8830 ext. 203
  • KIPP Clubhouse
    2750 Agler Road, Columbus, Ohio 43224
  • Milo-Grogan Clubhouse
    1012 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201
    (614) 294-4366
  • Pheasant Run Clubhouse
    2680 Orono Pike, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068
  • R.I.S.E. Clubhouse
    68 East Second Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201
  • South Side Clubhouse
    280 Reeb Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43207
    (614) 468-9299
  • UA/Metro Clubhouse
    1929 Kenny Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210
    (614) 221-8830 ext. 207

bgccolumbus.org

Broad Street United Methodist Church Manna Cafe & Open Shelter

Dinner is served every Wednesday through the Manna Cafe’. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday the Open Shelter provides dinner and other emergency needs. Call for serving times. 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
(614) 221-4571
broadstreetumc.net/ministries/serving-others

Camp Corral

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
(855) 605-1267
campcorral.org

Columbus City Schools Adult & Community Education (ACE)

Offers support services for families, with classes at different sites throughout Franklin County. They have free GED prep and ESOL classes for adults, and basic skills literacy classes for adults, as well as vocational training programs for adults (like nursing). They also offer low-cost online adult classes.
270 East State Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 365-6000
ccsoh.us/ace.aspx

Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML)

The Columbus Metropolitan Library has 23 branch locations throughout Columbus, Ohio where you are able to. Examples of all their free services include: adult learning and GED classes, technology training, ESOL, adaptive services, research and consumer tools, Storytime, Ready for Kindergarten classes, summer reading club, homework help, Reading Buddies and more.
96 South Grant Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 645-2275
columbuslibrary.org

Columbus Recreation & Parks APPS (Applications for Purpose, Pride & Success)

Is a violence reducation program offered to youth ages 14-21, 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
(614) 645-8430
columbus.gov/recreationandparks/programs/Applications-for-Purpose,-Pride-and-Success-(APPS)

Columbus Recreation & Parks 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.

  • Administration Office
    1111 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205
    (614) 645-3330
  • Beatty Community Center
    247 North Ohio Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43203
    (614) 645-3218
  • Freddersen Community Center
    3911 Dresden Street, Columbus, Ohio 43224
    (614) 645-3636
  • Marion Franklin Community Center
    2801 Lockbourne Road, Columbus, Ohio 43207
    (614) 645-3160
  • Sullivant Garden Community Center
    755 Renick Street, Columbus, Ohio 43223
    (614) 645-8171

columbus.gov/capitalkids

Columbus Recreation & Parks City Leaders Program

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
(614) 645-3330
columbus.gov/recreationandparks/programs/City-Leaders-Program

Columbus Recreation & Parks School’s Out Program

The School’s Out summer program allows children ages 6 to 14 to take part in a variety of fitness activities all day, Monday through Friday, at 4 recreation centers in Columbus. This program is open to residents of Columbus that meet certain income guidelines, for a very low cost. It is designed to meet the needs of working parents.
(614) 645-8597
columbus.gov/SchoolsOut

Columbus Urban League (CUL)

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:

  • Restoring Citizens
  • Keeping My Home
  • Growing Our Kids
  • Money & Mortgages
  • Jobs & Training
  • African American Male Initiative

788 Mount Vernon Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43203
(614) 257-6300
cul.org

Community for New Direction (CND)

Their elementary and middle school youth programs include: Young Ambassadors for Peace (YAP) an anti-bullying, violence prevention and leadership development program for schools and a summer day camp. CND’s programs for older youth focus on leadership development, job readiness, secondary education and employment opportunities. Their high school youth programs include: a job readiness program titled Future Opportunities Created for Urban Students (FOCUS), intergenerational mentorship, an annual historically black college and university tour and a violence intervention program titled Application for Purpose Pride and Success (APPS). CND offers emergency support services on a case-by-base basis, parenting services and addiction counseling for adults.

  • 2323 West Fifth Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43204 (Administrative Office)
    (614) 272-1464
  • 993 East Main Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205 (Near East Office)
    (614) 257-0305
  • 2096 West Mound Street, Columbus, Ohio 43223 (West Office)
    (614) 272-1464

cndonline.org

Directions for Youth & Families (DFYF) After-School/Summer & Prevention Programs

Offers after school and summer programs for youth ages 8 to 17. The free program includes life skills education groups, homework help, computer lab, tutoring, fitness and recreation, art, music and dance programming and meals provided. They also have a teen pregnancy prevention group called, My Best Self, serving high-risk boys and girls, ages 11 to 18, in local schools throughout Franklin County.

  • Ohio Avenue Youth Center
    657 South Ohio Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43205
    (614) 258-8043
  • The Crittenton Center
    3840 Kimberly Parkway North, Columbus, Ohio 43232
    (614) 694-0203

dfyf.org/home/our-programs/youth-centers.html

Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS)

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.

  • 4099 & 4077 Karl Road, Columbus, Ohio 43224
  • 5918 Sharon Woods Boulevard, Columbus, Ohio 43229
  • 2444 Gatewood Road, Columbus, Ohio 43219
  • 530 & 588 McNaughten Road, Columbus, Ohio 43213
  • 3800 Sullivant Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43228
  • 4312 Westport Road, Columbus, Ohio 43228
  • 3800 Briggs Road, Columbus, Ohio 43228
  • 3774 Eakin Road, Columbus, Ohio 43228
  • 5660 Trabue Road, Hilliard, Ohio 43228

(614) 252-5362
ethiotss.org

Godman Guild

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)
(614) 294-5476
godmanguild.org

Greater Hilltop Area Shalom Zone

Faith based, non-profit organization based in Columbus’ Hilltop community. Some of their programs include Hilltop 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.
1665 Harrisburg Pike, Columbus, Ohio, 43223
(614) 398-1230
hilltopshalomzone.org

Habitat for Humanity Youth Programs

Children and teens can learn about homeownership, outreach, construction and become involved in their local communities.
3140 Westerville Road, Columbus, Ohio 43224
(614) 422-4828
www.habitatmidohio.org

Homeless Families Foundation (HFF)

  • HFF’s Family Services works directly with families to help them move from homelessness to stable housing and self-sufficiency. This is a combined effort of the Case Managers, a Housing Liaison, and Resource Specialists.
  • HFF’s Dowd Education Center programs include: Project Based Learning, Literacy Program, Parent Participation Night, and Nutrition Program. Other activities include a curriculum based arts program, recreation program, field trips and other enrichment activities to enhance the students’ social skills, self-esteem, and overall health.
  • Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK): The target population is three and four-year-old children, not enrolled in Pre-K, who will enter Kindergarten the following year. Each Parent Partner provides monthly home visits and works directly with a parent/family member, to support their role as the child’s first teacher.

33 North Grubb Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 461-9247
homelessfamiliesfoundation.org

I Am My Brother’s Keeper (IAMBK)

Engage 9-15 year-old boys of color from zip codes 43206 or 43207 whose families earn 200% of poverty or less. Offer fun, healthy safe experiences during the school year and throughout the summer, building academic, career, artistic, and physical strengths. 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
(614) 247-1633
kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/mybrotherskeeper

Jazz Arts Group

Offers a tuition-free program youth jazz lab, focusing on listening, learning and performing jazz. They also provide classes, workshops, summer programs and group performances.
734 East Long Street, Columbus, Ohio 43203
(614) 294-5200
jazzartsgroup.org

Kaleidoscope Youth Center

Dedicated to supporting youth ages 12 to 20 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and questioning. They offer a range of programs and activities, all of which are free, including discussion groups, social activities, leadership training and support for gay-straight alliances.
603 East Town Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 294-5437
kycohio.org

Kicks for Kids Soccer Mentoring Program

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 20th Street, Columbus, Ohio 43203
(614) 258-4357
k4kwusa.org

Leaders Emerging & Developing (LEAD)

LEAD is a STEM education and financial literacy organization serving Franklin and Delaware County 3rd – 12th grade students. They offer programs including STEM clubs, leadership training, STEM camps, mentoring, as well as the E-STEM Chapters, which give K-12 grade students an opportunity to be exposed to STEM and business concepts to gain high positions in Corporate America, or to become entrepreneurs. Some services are free. Scholarships are available.
PO Box 361061, Columbus, Ohio 43236
(614) 407-6049
leademerging.org

Ohio Hispanic Coalition

Offers several free services to the Hispanic community including:

  • Homework help and educational after school programs
  • Summer camps for Latino / Hispanic children
  • Translation and interpretation services
  • English (ESOL) and citizenship classes for adults
  • Support group for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault

100 East Campus View Boulevard, Columbus, Ohio 43235
(614) 840-9934
ohiohispaniccoalition.org

Ohio State University (OSU) Extension

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;

Franklin County Office: 530 West Spring Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 866-6900
extension.osu.edu
Franklin County Extension: franklin.osu.edu

Ohio State University (OSU) LiFEsports

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
(614) 688-3875
osulifesports.org

Salvation Army After School Learning Center

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.

  • West Mound Worship and Service Center
    2300 West Mound Street, Columbus, Ohio 43204
    (614) 484-0206
  • East Main Street Worship and Service Center
    966 East Main Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205
    (614) 358-2633
  • Citadel Worship & Service Center
    3662 Karl Road, Columbus, Ohio 43224
    (614) 403-1082
  • Livingston Elementary School
    825 East Livingston Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43205
    (614) 448.8237

co.salvationarmy.org/CentralOhio/after-school-learning-center

See Kids Dream

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
(614) 429-3244
seekidsdream.org

Serving Our Neighbors (SON) Ministries

Serving Our Neighbors (SON) Ministries offers programming and connects families facing suburban poverty in Hilliard (Ohio) 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. Visit the website for the location of each program.
(614) 586-7939
son-ministries.org

Somali Community Association of Ohio (SCAO)

Provides a variety of services for Somali youth and adults.

    • Free adult English (ESOL) classes and after school programs for Somali youth
    • Legal services, including help with immigration problems, landlord-tenant disputes and workplace issues
    • Help with school concerns and personal needs
    • Translation services and job help
    • Housing assistance
    • Family counseling and support to Somali women who are victims of domestic violence
    • Shelter referrals

3422 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43224
(614) 262-4068
somaliohio.org

St. Stephen’s Community House

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
(614) 294-6347
saintstephensch.org

SURGE Columbus

Provides free programs to teens at COSI, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus Museum of Art, Wexner Center for the Arts, WOSU@COSI, and Transit Arts 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.
Wexner Center for the Arts
1871 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43210
(614) 292-0330
surgecolumbus.org

TriVillage Mentor League

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
(614) 255-7942
tvml.org

YMCA of Central Ohio

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.

  • Youth Development: child care, academic enrichment, leadership development, mentoring, youth civic engagement, sports and recreation, swim, fitness, and camps (day, overnight and for special needs)
  • Healthy Living: family time, group fitness classes, personal/group training, water activities, diabetes prevention, and healthy lifestyle classes
  • Social Responsibility: juvenile justice program (like Positive Alternative Learning for Students/PALS), residential and employment services, welcome center for immigrants and refugees, military outreach, support children with special needs (like Early Childhood Resource Network+/ECRN+)

Full Facility Branches

  • Delaware Community Center YMCA
    1121 South Houk Road, Delaware, Ohio 43015
    (740) 203-3051
  • Don M. and Margaret Hilliker YMCA
    300 Sloan Boulevard, Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311
    (937) 592-9622
  • Downtown YMCA
    40 West Long Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
    (614) 224-1131
  • Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA
    130 Woodland Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43203
    (614) 252-3166
  • Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA
    555 YMCA Place, Gahanna, Ohio 43230
    (614) 416-9622
  • Grove City YMCA
    3600 Discovery Drive, Grove City, Ohio 43123
    (614) 871-9622
  • Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA
    4515 Cosgray Road, Hilliard, Ohio 43026
    (614) 334-9622
  • Hilltop YMCA
    2879 Valleyview Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43204
    (614) 276-8224
  • Jerry L. Garver YMCA
    6767 Refugee Road, Canal Winchester, Ohio 43110
    (614) 834-9622
  • Liberty Township/Powell YMCA
    7798 North Liberty Road, Powell, Ohio 43065
    (614) 839-9622
  • North YMCA
    1640 Sandalwood Place, Columbus, Ohio 43229
    (614) 885-4252
  • Pickaway County Family YMCA
    440 Nicholas Drive, Circleville, Ohio 43113
    (740) 477-1661
  • Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA
    3500 First Avenue, Urbancrest, Ohio 43123
    (614) 539-1770

Outdoor/Multipurpose Facilities

  • Hilltop-Cherry Creek YMCA
    600 Fox Ridge Street, Columbus, Ohio 43228
    (614) 878-7260
  • Hoover YMCA Park
    1570 Rohr Road, Lockbourne, Ohio 43137
    (614) 491-0980
  • YMCA Camp Willson
    2732 County Road 11, Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311
    (800) 423-0427

Educare Centers

  • Hilltop Educare Center
    1952 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43223
    (614) 752-8877
  • YMCA Early Learning Center
    2879 Johnstown Road, Columbus, Ohio 43219
    (614) 342-5836

Early Childhood Resource Network+ (ECRN+)

  • Early Childhood Resource Network+ (ECRN+)
    1907 Leonard Avenue, Columbus Ohio 43219
    (614) 389-9800

YMCA Administrative Offices: 40 West Long Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 389-4409
ymcacolumbus.org

YWCA Kids Place

The YWCA Kids Place serves the Westerville, Gahanna and New Albany school districts.  The programs are offered within the elementary school buildings, offering easy transition for the students.  Morning and afternoon programs are offered in Westerville and New Albany.  In Gahanna, they offer afternoon programs.  The hours are dependent upon each school district but all programs are completed by 6:00 p.m.   Students from the ages of 5 though 12 years old are eligible and the program costs are dependent upon the needs of the family.   There is a registration fee per family, per school year. Click here to register, or call the YWCA administrative office directly for child care costs.
65 South Fourth Street, Columbus, Ohio  43215
(614) 224-9121
www.ywcacolumbus.org