Two Nonprofits Join Forces to Solve Lack of Summer Child Care in Otsego County



Parents of school aged children have scrambled for child care the past couple summers, as we bounce back from the pandemic addressing this problem in Otsego County is crucial

NEWS PROVIDED BY

Otsego County United Way

May 6, 2022

Gaylord, MI/May 6, 2022- - Otsego County United Way (OCUW) and Otsego Christian School (OCS) joined forces to meet the need of lack of summer child care in Otsego County. This 10-week program will offer affordable childcare in the County with a focus on kindergarten to sixth grade. OCUW is providing seed money and OCS is supplying the programming, staff, and space. This summer program will fill the critical need for quality child care for (up to) 54 children, with 20 of those spots being reserved for the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population.

According to the most recent ALICE Report, 3,680 of Otsego County households struggle to afford the basics in life, including housing, childcare, transportation, food, and healthcare. The pandemic revealed the lack of childcare options as essential workers and many single parent households were required to make tough decisions regarding their jobs or the care of their children. Quality childcare became a primary concern even for families who may have not previously had a need.

OCUW’s investment in this program is an investment not only in children and families but an investment in our community’s health and economic vitality. “Assuring there is reasonable, conveniently located, and accessible child care for ALICE families and the whole community is crucial. This is a ‘yes-and’ situation. YES, we are helping ensure economic stability amongst individual families. AND helping Otsego County thrive by establishing a solid infrastructure to support a successful workforce,” said Erin Mann, Otsego County United Way Executive Director. “This ideal of child care as infrastructure is three-fold it: welcomes new businesses into our town, improves current labor needs and prevents the brain drain of young adults leaving the Gaylord area. Our hope is this summer program is just the tip of the iceberg as the OCUW tackles the issue of the lack of child care for all age groups”

The program is: Monday to Thursday, 8 am to 5 pm, June 13 to August 26, breaking for the 4th of July week. The cost is $100 for 4 days and if eligible, Department of Health and Human Service payment is accepted. Kiddos are asked to bring their own lunch. However, if there is a financial hardship amongst a family, the Otsego County Food Pantry has generously offered to provide meals and snacks. The schedule will be:

· Monday: Vacation Bible School

· Tuesday: Make Something Tuesday

· Wednesday: Water Wednesday

· Thursday: What’s Cooking

“When I was approached, by another childcare provider, about the need for summer childcare I knew OCS might be able to help. We are so happy to be starting our first Summer Camp. We have talked about it for a couple of years, but it never seemed to be the right time,” said Lani Lyttle, OCS Administrator. “Partnering with United Way has been a huge blessing and help to bring much needed childcare to Gaylord. We have a ton of fun activities planned, including water games, cooking, crafts and much more. Our director, Toree Winowiecki, is working hard on the planning and we can’t wait to meet all our new summer friends!”

Individuals can register here: https://bit.ly/OCSsummercamp. They are requesting no phone calls, email: summercampocs@gmail.com for more info. If you are an employed person that needs help with transportation, payment to a child care provider, or other supportive services to ensure job retention please call the United Way at: 989.732.8929.

CONTACT:

Erin Mann, Executive Director

Otsego County United Way

989.732.8929

director@otsegounitedway.org



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