TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The coronavirus pandemic forced many schools to shut down for in-person learning, leaving younger kids with working parents not many places to go. As a result, the Boys and Girls Club of Tucson increased their hours giving children a safe place to go during the week.
“What we offer in terms of safety, relationships, connection for young people and families I don’t know if you can put a price tag on it,” said Karin Malbrough the Vice President of Program Operations at Boys and Girls Club of Tucson.
The Boys and Girls Club of Tucson has been a saving grace to many families in the community.
“Families need our support,” said Malbrough. Not just in terms of creating safe spaces for children but there’s a ton of food insecurity and housing insecurity.”
Come August, the clubs are normally only open after school however, they have shifted their schedule to meet the needs of families opening the clubs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. But, longer hours means added costs they didn’t account for.
“The costs are daunting were definitely leaning on former doners,” said Malbrough. “We’re looking at all the emergency funding opportunities so that we can find a way to offset the additional expense and staff time.”
Since kids are spending more time at the clubs, that means the club must provide more meals to kids. The club had to change just about everything they did daily to meet physical distancing requirements.
“It is very different from 6 months ago,” said Malbrough. “This has been a wild rollercoaster ride.”
Malbrough says getting 6 and 7-year-olds to understand let alone practice physical distancing has been a challenge but they’re adjusting.
“Our staff doubled down on were going to enforce this over and over and over,” said Malbrough.
The clubs are limiting the number of kids each day to help promote physical distancing and have taken other steps to ensure kids and staff are staying safe and healthy.
“What matters most is were confident,” said Malbrough. “We will find a way and were keeping as optimistic as possible so we can continue to show up for families.”