Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County will extend operating hours to create a safe space for Club members to go during distance learning. While school district classrooms remain closed, 13 Clubs across the county will be open from 7:30 AM until 7 PM. The extended hours will allow Club parents to stay employed and not force them to leave their children home alone.
“I commend our parents for asking us to stay open during regular school hours for distant learning so that they do not have to quit their jobs. They don’t want to be unemployed and living off government assistance, and by our Clubs opening, we can help them with the peace of mind that their children are safe while they are at work,” said President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County Jaene Miranda.
Currently, Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County continues to raise the necessary funds to be open during distant learning hours. Normally, Clubs do not open until the end of the school day at 2 PM. Over the next two weeks, Clubs will hire nearly 50 new staff members necessary for the expansion, complete extensive internet infrastructure upgrades to allow Club members to have high-speed internet service, and train existing staff on how to use the school district’s Google platform to assist Club members best. The Clubs also plan on feeding Club members breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner at no cost to families.
“Sometimes doing the right thing is not the easy thing, but we do whatever it takes to make sure that our Club members are safe and are not academically falling behind because of an achievement gap created by challenges families face because of the pandemic. We need to raise at least $775,000 to cover the additional operating costs. We are encouraged with the early support we’ve seen from our donors, but we have a lot more work to do to provide this vital service to our children,” explained Miranda.
To ensure Club members stay safe, Clubs will continue to follow stringent CDC COVID-19 guidelines. Added precautions include maintaining strict protocols that limit the interaction of Club members and staff, areas occupied by staff and kids are sanitized every 45 minutes, temperature checks for every single person entering the Clubs with no visitors allowed, and staff and children are required to frequently wash their hands and wear facemasks. The same protocols were proven to be effective during Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County’s Summer Camp program, which was successfully held at all 13 Club sites.
Space is limited due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. Signup has started, and demand is great. Interested parents should contact their closest Club immediately. A full list of Clubs can be found at www.bgcpbc.org/clubs.
In addition to extra services to help Club members with distance learning difficulties, Clubs will continue emergency hunger relief programs that started immediately after schools closed due to the pandemic in March. Since that time, Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County has handed out more than 500,000 meals to children across the county, and more than 55,000 Club family members have received a week’s worth of groceries.
If you would like to donate to help Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County stay open during school hours to help children with distant learning, please click on the button below.