YMCA of Orange County offers solution for families challenged with distance learning

"We are not a replacement for the classroom. We are a support system for the classroom," a YMCA spokesperson said.
LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (KABC) -- At a YMCA Summer Day Camp in Laguna Niguel, kids have been learning and playing the past few months while their parents are hard at work.

"We play outside a lot and we have snack and afternoon snack and we have a lot of fun here," said fourth grader Avery Gully, who said she was happy to be here, especially after schools started distance learning at the end of the school year. "I missed some of my friends and now they're here, so I still get to see them."

That will continue when the school year starts, now that the YMCA of Orange County has announced it will offer onsite child care and learning support for children in kindergarten through eighth grade at over 40 sites.

"So now that we know that the 100% online is what they're doing, we are able to introduce our full time and part time curriculum based program with additional distance learning support for the fall," said Anna Romiti, vice president of marketing and communications for YMCA of Orange County.

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She says they've been working closely with the districts, the Orange County Health Care Agency and parents to come up with the best solution, which will include a team of teachers that will work with the children to support their distance learning -- everything from classwork to homework.

"We are not a replacement for the classroom. We are a support system for the classroom. We are here to support their learning, we are here to support the teachers, and really just kind of help in these changing times," said Romiti.

Staci Costello is a longtime employee of the YMCA, but she's also been sending her two boys to the program for the past two years.

"My husband and I actually tried at the end of last year to do the distance learning ourselves at home and with him being at home full time working, and me out in the field, it's a struggle," said Costello.
Parents can pick and choose the number of days and hours, and there's financial assistance -- even full scholarships for those who need it.

"One of our teachers called us yesterday to tell us she could not keep up with how much her phone was ringing. So there's definitely a need," Romiti said.

There's no deadline to register, but we're told applications are coming in quickly, so they encourage families to call in soon. For more information, as well as a list of health and safety protocols, go to YMCAOC.org.
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