As area schools in Madison County plan to do virtual learning only for at least the first nine weeks of the school year, many working parents are left looking for childcare.
To address this concern, the Boys and Girls Club of North Alabama has created “Club Academy,” which offers in-person classroom programs during school hours for students K-12 needing a secure learning environment.
“We understand that schools are doing what they think is best for the community, but there are a lot of parents who are working and have no one to look after their kids. So, Boys and Girls Club looked and decided that we will offer day class and the after-school programs are going to be available too still,” said Yassiry Rivera, Farley Boys and Clubs Unit Director.
Rivera says the program will begin Aug. 17 and plans to run for at least nine weeks but could extend beyond this depending on decisions made by local schools and community need—a need which is currently very high.
“I get emails, calls, texts—we have a lot of parents very concerned because they don’t know how to help their children. Speaking of the Hispanic community, we have a lot of parents who can’t speak the language and don’t know how to help their kids do the homework because the majority of the work is in English,” Rivera said.
To make this program possible, Rivera says they are hiring more staff and purchasing more cleaning materials and equipment to keep kids healthy and safe, but these added measures come at a cost for the nonprofit.
“Our mission is to offer help to the community but there are all the requirements, it costs us more money,” Rivera said. “We are asking the community to be aware of the services we are offering and to continue to support us for the continuation of these types of services.”
The Boys and Girls Club of North Alabama operates in Madison, Morgan, Limestone and Jackson counties and can serve all students in this program no matter which schools they go to, according to Rivera.
The program costs $100 per week, but Rivera says scholarships and financial aid are available for families who need help covering the fee.