Program to help families during childcare crisis

NOW: Program to help families during childcare crisis

ELKHART, Ind.-- With a variety of schools all across the country switching to virtual learning because of the coronavirus pandemic, several families have been left to deal with a very complicated situation.

“Parents are really in a tough position right now on how to make decisions. A lot of parents making that decision between am I working or am I staying home with my student,” President and CEO of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce Levon Johnson said.

However, there’s a solution in the works.

Several Elkhart non-profit organizations banded together to create EdCamp, which is a program to help students and parents out during the school week.

“We need to fill a childcare crisis that is occurring before our eyes as the schools have had to reopen on a hybrid model for social distancing,” Executive Director of the Elkhart Education Foundation Ashley Molyneaux said. “Ed-camp which is the program that education foundation in partnership with lifeline youth ministries has created to fill this gap.”

EdCamp will provide e-learning support and enrichment activities throughout the day and will make sure that all kids have the opportunities they need to succeed!

“Honestly, we’re all better when we’re working together,” Molyneaux said. “We want to make sure our kids have access to be the well rounded students we know they can be!”

Access to wifi throughout the day will be available for students, and transportation will be offered to help parents out.

To help families financially, the program will cost only 10 dollars a day with all services and meals included.

600 students can participate in the EdCamp program, with 300 students served per day.

Organizers said that while that number may seem large, safety measures will be enforced.

“We’re really thinking about COVID precautions and the way we can serve kids at their grade level for the best possible result,” Molyneaux said. “Any one day we can serve 300 kids in small groups of 15 or less, in small pods, family pods so that contact tracing is possible and also keeps kids from mixing with too many at any one time.”

Organizers hope that this program will help fill the needs of families in Elkhart during this uncertain time, and to help inspire other city organizations to step up to help their community out.

“This is a solution that hopefully meets the needs of kids, parents, families and businesses as well,” Johnson said.

“Let parents know, take a deep breathe, there’s help coming, we’re here, you have choices and let’s work together to make sure your kids have a safe place to be,” Molyneaux said.

For more information on EdCamp and how to get involved, you can visit the Elkhart Education Foundation's website.

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