CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Some time off from school for the holidays is something many kids look forward to. For their parents, it can create a financial strain when it comes to finding childcare, but there are some programs out there to help.
Charleston Parks and Recreation has several community centers that they are keeping open long hours for kids who need a place to go during the day during Christmas break while their parents are at work.
“We try to do a lot of things for free so that parents don’t have to worry about any kind of financial obligation,” said Rashaun Sayles, Charleston Parks and Recreation Director. The city is offering students several opportunities to spend time with friends and get some exercise.
“We have arts and crafts, there is social play, you can go in the gym and play basketball,” explained Corey Lowery, Program Coordinator at the North Charleston Community Center.
The city as well as a program called Step by Step are stepping up to give parents options.
“In the evenings is the worst time for students to be out on the streets. A lot is happening especially in our community right now,” said Cassidy Bailey, Kanawha County Programs Director for Step by Step. “So we are opening our center and thanks to our partnership with Charleston Parks and Recreation we have a few of those facilities open as well to provide a safe space for students to come in off the streets and have a caring adult willing to sit and listen to them.”
More downtime with the kids during the day gives them an opportunity to make deeper connections.
“The parents are still working and the kids are home and they’ve got a lot of idle time so the parents love the idea that they can drop them off in a safe environment, a safe place where they can learn and be active,” Sayles said.
The city will be hosting activities next week too including an urban fishing event where kids will be able to fish in one of the city’s pools.