Northern NY YMCAs help essential workers with child care

Published: Mar. 25, 2020 at 5:29 PM EDT
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A new program in Northern New York aims to help those with kids who have to go to work. Our Kelly O'Brien has details.

Workers considered "essential" still have to show up at their jobs, but some are worried about what to do with their kids. The YMCA stepped up and rolled out emergency child care.

"Child care is in our wheelhouse. We've been doing it for many, many years," said Justin Ihne of the YMCA.

The Plattsburgh and Malone YMCAs are opening their doors back up to the folks who need them most-- those on the front lines of this pandemic.

"If you are in an essential personnel position, we want you to call us," Ihne said.

They're calling the program the "School's Out Club." Starting on Monday, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., kids of essential workers will be taken care of. They will get their homework done, eat breakfast and lunch, and have some fun-- all while remaining six feet away from others.

"The program will include activities while social distancing. It's a very unique situation," Ihne explained.

Dr. Manal El Daouk was the first to sign up her two little ones for the program

"I was really worried," El Daouk said. "I have two little children and me and my husband still work full time at the hospital."

She said knowing her kids are in good hands will take some weight off her shoulders.

"I will be in peace of mind practicing my work without worrying about my kids," El Daouk said.

Right now, they have nearly 90 spots open for kids from infants to fifth-graders between the two locations. There is a slight cost for the care but the Y just got $50,000 in support of the program from the Adirondacks for Kids Fund to help anyone in need.

"If you find you are in need of additional support, we believe we will be able to help you," Ihne said.

Here's how to get your kids signed up:

Plattsburgh Child Care: K-fifth grade. Call Tina Santor at 518-324-2014.

Plattsburgh Child Care: Infant-pre-K. Call Jackie Prather at 518-562-1174.

Malone Child Care: K-fifth grade. Call Michelle Schumacher at 518-483-2354.

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