When California issued the school closures and stay-at-home orders in March, many families and essential workers were left searching for a safe place for their children. As a single parent working in the healthcare field, Cynthia Angulo needed care for her two daughters, Arionna (8) and Jade (6), so she turned to the Y.
“There are a lot of us single-parents out there, we have to work, but we have our kids, and we don’t have any time to take off work to take care of our kids,” shared Cynthia.
During the closure, the Y was able to support the families of essential workers. “Providing child care for families during COVID-19 is a tangible outpouring of the Y’s mission. Our purpose has always been to be a place of support to the community,” says Breann Lindsey, Camp Director at the Redlands Family YMCA.
Arionna and Jade were already a part of the Y’s afterschool program when they started day camp. It was comforting for them to see the familiar faces of their afterschool Y teachers with so much uncertainty. The Redlands Y Day Camp staff helped Arionna and Jade navigate distance learning over the spring to keep the girls on track. “It was very helpful for them to see adults that they knew. The girls love them,” said Cynthia.
During this unprecedented time, Cynthia is happy that her daughters are experiencing new and fun things at the Y. “It’s the interaction, and they can go outside and play. They are learning basketball or soccer, tossing a ball throwing a frisbee all the fun things kids are supposed to be doing,” Cynthia shared.
Arionna and Jade enjoy the crafts and are always learning new things at Day Camp. “They are learning to make lanyards, or trying to,” laughs Cynthia. She remembers making lanyards when she attended the summer camp through her local YMCA as a child and teen.
With the start of the new school year, parents struggled to find a solution for workplace demands and kids learning from home. The Y pivoted its day camp programming to offer KEY (Knowledge, Enrichment, & Youth Development) designed to support working parents while schools are providing distance learning. This program allows kids to be connected to their classroom, offers homework assistance, and physical activity for K-6th grade.
As a parent, Cynthia strives to give her daughters the best opportunities. “Being able to give them the right educational setting that they need and also to give them a chance to grow and learn things themselves.”
At the Y, Arionna and Jade can start to explore their interest. Cynthia is excited for her daughters to discover what they are passionate about, “Do you like bugs, or do you like these sports, or would you like to stay inside and draw? There they get a chance to try all that.”
At the Y, we believe that by offering quality affordable programs like day camp, we help support all in our community. “Bridging the gaps in our community means no one should be choosing between their child’s education and development or providing for their family,” says Breann.
As we support workers in essential fields caring for our most vulnerable populations during this pandemic, it is through the generosity of donors like you that we can offer financial assistance to families in need throughout our community.
“Thank you for supporting families like mine; you are helping pay for the full fee that we couldn’t afford on our own” shared Cynthia. “You are paying it forward to those children who can now get a better education and experiences.”
Nearly 1 in 4 children in California lives with a single parent.1
- Public Policy Institute of California. 2002. California’s Young Children. Image. https://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/jtf/JTF_YoungChildrenJTF.pdf.