March 22, 2020
 

A s Lane County prepares for weeks of closed schools and an order for nonessential workers to stay home, your Y is adjusting and evolving to help our community resiliently face its challenges.

While many of us can safely remain home to keep coronavirus from spreading, the unsung heroes of our community are still going to work--- at urgent care clinics, fire stations, hospitals and medical clinics.

These individuals are tirelessly working on the front lines to provide responsible health care in order to keep us all safe.

But they have a critical need that cannot be overlooked: compassionate, secure child care for their own kiddos, who are no longer safely in school. 

That's why your Y has been part of the City's Emergency Operations Center, activated in response to the coronavirus to maintain critical services, identify community needs and mobilize coordinated responses among Lane County partners.
Thank you to one of our very own physician members.


Collaboration with the city of Eugene, our local school districts, our first responders and our local healthcare workers and others has resulted in an  unprecedented partnership to provide emergency child care services.

As Lane County's largest child care provider,  your Y is primed to step in and help.

Your Y's Youth Development services are well-known, respected and so popular they run at full capacity. Afterschool programs have expanded to 23 schools in three school districts.
 
Our child care staff is trained to guide youth with their emotional, social, academic and personal development. They know how to get kids physically active, interacting in socially appropriate ways, and building confidence, self-esteem and a sense of achievement.

In light of the stress related to dealing with a global pandemic, it's reassuring to know that many of our child care employees have worked for the Y for years. They've been there for Y kiddos who've dealt with divorce, a death in the family, financial and food insecurity, and trauma. They recognize the emotional and physical needs of kids--- who don't express their challenges in the same way as adults. 

"Children are likely experiencing high levels of stress in their families from the situation in the world at large," says Holly Kriz-Anderson, your Y's Youth Development Director and Vice-President of Operations. "Even if they may not know what is happening entirely, they are still absorbing the angst of the times.  Our loving, compassionate staff will be there for them, helping to encourage healthy, fun play as an outlet to all the craziness in the world right now." 

So starting Monday, March 23, your Y's Youth Development staff, in concert with 4J and Bethel school districts and the City's Recreation Department, will begin offeri ng full-day emergency childcare to first responders and medical staff. Although this service will only be offered to first responders and essential workers, we hope its impact will be far reaching.

With guidance from the state, our child care programs will look different, of course. Strict regulations will be in place regarding physical distance, hand-washing and equipment use. Group size will be limited. As much time as possible will be spent outside. 

But at their essence, our child care programs will be the same: offering children a space to find kindness, fun, laughter, learning and movement. And, most likely, a little glitter and glue.

Your Y is honored to be fulfilling an essential community need, serving our medical professionals and caring for our future achievers during this global crisis. There is  no more perfect fusion of our youth development work and our desire to serve our community in its time of need.

Stay tuned for future announcements about how emergency child care may evolve among these partners. Current capacity is reserved for:
      • Lane County Sheriff's Office
      • Eugene Police Department
      • Springfield Police Department
      • Eugene Springfield Fire Department
      • 4J and Bethel School Districts' Nutrition Services
      • 4J and Bethel School Health Services
      • PeaceHealth Medical Centers
      • McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center
      • Lane County Public Health
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Your Y's Youth Development staff is honored to be in this partnership to offer full-day emergency child care. This service is only offered to first responders and essential workers at this time. 

Please stay tuned for future announcements about how emergency child care may evolve.  Questions: E-mail   holly@eugeneymca.org