Categorized | Education, Government, News

Parents urged to sign up for County child care on teacher furlough days

MEDIA RELEASE

The County Department of Parks & Recreation will begin signing up children on Monday, Oct. 5 for a program to provide low-cost child care during the 17 days that schools are closed because of teacher furloughs.

Sign-up will be at 18 sites across the island for the “Furlough Friday Program,” which is modeled after the County’s popular Summer Fun program. The program is designed to help working parents who have no alternative child care on furlough days.

“This program is needed to help our working families,” said County Department of Parks & Recreation Director Robert Fitzgerald. “After the announcement of the teacher furloughs, our own employees and workers across the island were changing their vacation dates and hurrying to make other arrangements to try to adjust to the unexpected school closures.”

“The furloughs are straining the resources of our parents, and this program will provide safe and convenient child care through the County,” Fitzgerald said.

Mayor Kenoi praised the quick response by the Parks Department staff, which planned and developed the “Furlough Friday Program” in a matter of days.

“I’m proud of our employees for stepping up so quickly find a solution to a problem that could have become a nightmare for working parents on this island,” Mayor Kenoi said. “Our parks employees devised an affordable program that delivers a valuable service and will pay for itself. The Parks Department employees should be commended for their efforts.”

Fees for the child care program will be $6 per child per furlough day, or $12 per furlough day for families with more than one child in the program. Participating families will be asked to pay for the full 17 furlough days in cash or with a certified check or money order when they register for the program.

The County expects income from the fees will cover the full cost of the program. To keep costs low, County officials are recruiting volunteers and inviting people to contribute snacks and supplies.

The County is inviting volunteers from school A-Plus programs to help staff the County Furlough Friday Program because those volunteers have already completed background checks and other screening. Other volunteers are also being sought for the program, but all volunteers must undergo a background check.

Enrollment will continue until the program limit is reached. The County now has sites and staffing available for up to 860 participants, but expects more slots will open to accommodate more children as volunteers sign up. The County plans to adhere to the Summer Fun guideline of one adult supervisor for 20 children.

The program is open to youngsters in kindergarten through the eighth grade, but participating children must be at least 5 years old.

Daily activities will vary among the sites depending on the pre-approved lesson plans of the recreation directors. The lesson plans will include arts and crafts, organized sports and free play activities.

The activities will be held at gyms, community centers and other recreational facilities. Gym hours will be from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with organized activities held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children will need to bring their own lunches.

Registration will begin Monday, Oct. 5, and sign-up will be held Monday through Thursday from 12:15 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the sites listed below. Parents are encouraged to sign up early to reserve a slot.

The program sites and contacts for each site are listed below:

Hilo:

Andrews Gym, Dean Goya 959-9047
Piihonua Gym, Chris Drayer 961-8737
Kawananakoa Gym, Jaime Guerpo 961-8732
Hilo Armory, Gail Rosehill 961-8734
Waiakea Uka Gym, Darrell Yamamoto 959-9474

Hamakua:

Honokaa Gym, Jayme Carvalho 775-7505
Papaikou Gym, Mark Osorio 964-3304

Puna:

Pahoa Neighborhood Facility, Kenn Nagasawa 965-2704
Shipman Gym, Glenn Kokubun 966-5803

Ka‘u:

Pahala Community Center, Winona Makuakane 928-3102
Naalehu Community Center, Richard Karasuda 939-2510, or Glenn Kokubun 966-5803

Kohala:

Hisaoka Gym, Chris Cackley 889-6505
Waikoloa Park, Doug Roberts 883-6100
Waimea Community Center, Lindsey Iyo 887-3014

Kona:

Kekuaokalani Gym, Victor McDaniel 327-3553
Yano Hall, 323-3060

County Parks officials are also in discussions with community organizations and churches that are willing to partner with the county to provide supervised activities for students on the furlough days.

Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island is offering educational programs at its facilities in Hilo, Kea’au, Pahoa, Pahala, Hawaiian Ocean View Estates and Hamakua.

Kama’aina Kids will also offer child care for $25 per day at Hilo Union, Keonepoko, Waiakea, Konawaena and Waikoloa.

Parents interested in placing their children with Boys and Girls Club or Kama’aina Kids should contact those organizations directly.

One Response to “Parents urged to sign up for County child care on teacher furlough days”

  1. Interesting! Children need to participate in such kind of things. They will know how to mingle in the outside world and would help them in their future career.

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