The Boys & Girls Clubs of West Alabama and the YMCA-Tuscaloosa are opening their doors to serve the children of healthcare, government, public safety and other essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis.
The organizations will continue to operate as long as they are able to provide a safe environment for young people. Approximately 160 students ages 6-14 will receive services from the programs.
The Clubs and YMCA are strictly following guidelines of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Alabama Department of Public Health to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all participants, said spokespersons for both Tuscaloosa facilities. Temperatures of all participants are checked upon arrival, programming is administered in groups of 11, social distancing and hand-washing are being taught and practiced, and all spaces are sanitized and disinfected frequently by Boys & Girls Club and YMCA staff.
“Unprecedented times require unprecedented actions. We are partnering with the YMCA-Tuscaloosa so that we can provide the safest and highest-quality services to the children and youths of those people who are serving all of us throughout this crisis,” said Kim Turner, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Alabama. “In order for our healthcare workers and first responders to do their jobs, they must have the confidence to know their children are safe. We are opening our facilities to ensure essential workers have a place for their kids to go so they can continue working and serving the community.”
Both Clubs and the YMCA will be open from 6:45 a.m. until 7:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. Three sites will have child service limits: Jaycee Park Unit (70 children), Downtown YMCA (40 children) and Benjamin Barnes YMCA (50 children).
Daily meals will be provided for all students via the Tuscaloosa City Schools or the Child Nutrition Program of Boys & Girls Clubs.
The service will cost $16 per day, which covers about 55% of the cost of running the programs. However, no child will be turned away.
Community members who want to support the Clubs and the YMCA should bring cleaning supplies (wipes, cleaning sprays, paper towels, gloves, etc.), hand sanitizer, single-serve snacks or financial donations.