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Essential Care Summer Program set up for parents without childcare

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

Randolph Summer Camp will not take place this year and the pool at Randolph Park will be closed for the season as well.

Normally 300 or so children sign up for this camp every summer. This year more than 200 kids had been signed up to attend the Randolph Summer Camp, but as it will not take place this leaves many parents without child care options during the day.

This being the case, Jessie Woods, the recently hired CEO of the YMCA of Pulaski County, issued this statement:

“Out of deep concern for the safety and wellbeing of children and families in our community, Pulaski County Public Schools, Pulaski County and the YMCA of Pulaski County have come together to offer care for kids at Pulaski Elementary School.”

The YMCA has been providing day care facilities for children but didn’t have enough space to handle the community’s day care needs.

With this in mind, Jessie approached officials at Pulaski County Public Schools for permission to use Pulaski Elementary School for this purpose and it was readily granted.

From Monday, July 6, to Friday, Aug. 14, several classrooms at Pulaski Elementary School, each fitted with a private bathroom, will be made available for the YMCA of Pulaski County’s Essential Care Summer Program.

Pulaski County is providing the funds to hire teachers and custodians and has helped keep tuition costs down to $65 per child per week.

In addition to providing the classroom space, the PCPS system has agreed to supply breakfast and lunch to the children.

The parents of children who were signed up for the Randolph Summer Camp were all invited to enroll their children in the Essential Care Summer Program. At press time, 35 children had been enrolled in this program.

Though this program will help the parents of children who had signed up for summer camp, the Essential Care Summer Program is not a summer camp.

The children in this program will be provided STEM oriented activities and access to general online school work. A couple hours a day will be dedicated to outdoor activities with the track, basketball court and playgrounds available for the children. Playground equipment will be sanitized after every use.

“With every request individuals have agreed to take on more, increase their workload, delay vacation and bend over backward to make this happen,” Woods said in her statement. “Everyone has given a resounding yes to ensure families do not have to make impossible decisions between work and their children.”

Employees of the YMCA of Pulaski County will be overseeing this program.

For any questions about potential vacancies in the Essential Care Summer Program call the YMCA of Pulaski County at (540) 980-3671.

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