Area organization adjusting to assist with childcare issues come fall

Bangor YMCA is offering full-day educational support for students of hybrid and remote learning models
Dickerson says the Y is working with ten local superintendents to offer educational programming...
Dickerson says the Y is working with ten local superintendents to offer educational programming on the days kids are not in the classroom.(Emily Tadlock)
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 4:55 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Many parents have complained about the lack of affordable child care in the area.

Now, with some schools choosing remote and hybrid learning models, child care will need to be more than just a before and after school program.

Some places, like the Bangor YMCA, are adjusting to assist with this issue.

“It’s essential. I mean, I would ask the question, how can we not do this? Because, if we don’t do this, what are these parents going to do,” say CEO Diane Dickerson.

She says they’ve been working with ten area superintendents to customize programs for each of their districts. ”We kind of are changing our before and after school program to an all-day, educational support, activities, fun, care program.”

But this program is different than what they’ve traditionally offered. ”We’re not calling it our after school program or a childcare program. That is not what this is. This is going to be educational support, it’s going to be activities. It’s going to be outdoor activities. The more we can be outdoor with the kids, by far the safer it is. We know this is going to be a struggle,” says Dickerson.

Right now, the Y assists roughly 250 kids at their before and after school programs. Now, they are looking at more than double those numbers for twice the time.

“Now, we have to have double the staff. They are usually part-time because they are our after school program. Now, we have to get full-time staff for that. The real issue is location. It’s not easy,” says Dickerson.

With just three weeks before kids head back to school, Dickerson says they are reaching out to community centers and churches. They are even looking at leasing buildings to provide space. ”What this is going to cost us as a Y is huge,” she says.

Dickerson says they’ve reached out to the state and federal government for financial assistance for their programs. “If their child is in school two days a week, they have us the other two to three days a week. If their child is in school full day, they have us after school.” She says no matter what, they’re going to make this happen.

She says parents who need financial assistance can apply directly to the state, and they will do their best to help parents struggling with funds.

“It is not going to be easy, and the first month is definitely going to be a transition for all of us, but if we all work together, we can make this happen,” says Dickerson.

Dickerson says for parents wanting to sign up for these programs, they have waived the reservation fees. She asks parents who want to enroll their kids to register now so they can begin to plan accordingly.

She encourages anyone who wants more information, to call the Y.

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