After School Solutions to Help You Save
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Working parents struggle with juggling full-time jobs and the needs of their children each day. Hiring babysitters or nannies can quickly add up to major expenses. And, leaving youngsters home alone is not a safe option. So what other choices do you have? There are many after school programs available to school-age children that provide activities to keep children interested and safe. Family and friends may also provide help.
Advantage After School Program
The Advantage After School Program (AASP) is a three-hour activity program that operates on school days and possibly during some school vacations. By involving children in the program, they are less likely to get into trouble. The AASP keeps kids engaged in education, physical activities and recreation. Parents can focus on their jobs and not worry about whether or not their children are safe. As of September 1, 2016, there were 176 after school program sites available in the state of New York. The intention of the AASP is to:
- Give parents a safer place for their children after school is out.
- Decrease negative behavior in children by engaging them in activities.
- Decrease unmarried pregnancies in adolescents.
- Increase academic and vocational abilities in children.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America provide safe places for children to go after school, during school vacations and during the summer months. The club offers sports and recreation through indoor sports such as basketball, soccer, whiffle ball and volleyball. The Education and Career Development program offers homework help, technology training via computers and teaches educational disciplines to prepare children for the future. Art programs help develop creativity in children through arts and crafts, creative writing and visual arts. Membership fees vary by club location. For low-income families, inquire about reduced rates. To apply, stop by a Boys & Girls Club to pick up an application for membership. The Boys & Girls Club accepts any boy or girl from Kindergarten up to 12th grade.
The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) is a nonprofit organization for men, women and children. The program is dedicated to improving the health of children and families through various opportunities. The YMCA provides full- and part-time day care services for infants through preschool-age. It also offers an after school program for children from kindergarten through to middle school-age with activities to help them explore and to further develop their interests.
Child Day Care Services
To keep families active in the work force, the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) helps to support a system of quality child care in the state of New York, The OCFS regulates the child care service providers while funding new programs. Low-income families who meet eligibility requirements may receive subsidies in order to afford them. The OCFS also helps families to find appropriate day care centers to match the needs of the families. They will even help with finding financial assistance for day care for low-income households. For help, contact the local social services department.
Friends and Family Network
Most parents have a small network of family and friends with whom they enjoy spending time. Yet, the idea of asking for help with childcare can be embarrassing to some. Having a network can be more equitable by trading with them for time. In an emergency, perhaps a friend can watch the children in return for babysitting his or her children on weekends. By using a network of family and friends as a trade system, everyone can benefit.
During the summer months, when schools are out of session, many summer camps are available. A local park service may offer youth programs where children become involved in sports, crafts and social activities. Religious institutions may also offer summer programs, though they may require that families be regular members of their affiliations. For those summer camps that require registration fees, inquire if there are discounts or subsidies for low-income families.
Where to Find Help
When trying to find help with childcare, after school programs or emergency daycare, there are quite a few agencies that can point out programs in the community. Schools, law enforcement and churches often know of local resources that can provide help. The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) offers several programs, as well. Another source often overlooked are your coworkers with children. Find out what programs they use and how they applied.