By Dave Ongie, News Editor
Coalition for Kids has been open for more than two decades, but as the non-profit organization prepares to open up its summer program, director Randy Hensley feels like he’s reinventing the wheel.
“We’re working on absolutely everything,” Hensley said on Monday. “Nothing is the same.”
When the afterschool program shut down in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, over 300 kids were being served each day. The popular eight-week summer program at C4K has traditionally welcomed 300 kids, providing 10 hours a day of nourishment, physical activity, academic work and field trips.
But social distancing measures have forced Hensley and his staff to revamp every aspect of their operation in order to get in compliance with state directives. As a result, C4K will only be able to welcome between 125-135 kids this summer.
Hensley estimates that C4K lost around 40 percent of its funding from March through June, but despite that, he’s determined to offer the summer program free of charge for the first time ever. Normally families are asked to pay on an income-based scale, but with so few options for childcare this summer, the need is too great.
“I can’t imagine families going back to work without summer care,” he said. “So we decided we’ve got to open, and we are.”
In order to help fund the summer program, C4K will be holding a virtual luncheon to raise funds. Hensley said the event will be just like any other fundraising luncheon except without the food and the physical gathering place. Those interested in learning more about C4K will be able to do so by clicking a link at 12:30 p.m. on June 30 and watching Hensley and a group of high school seniors explain the positive impact the organization has on the community.
“That event is asking folks to give so we can cover all the costs for these kids and families so they don’t have to pay for anything,” Hensley said. “I think it’s got great potential, but we haven’t tried anything like this.”
More information on the event will be available soon at www.coalitionforkids.org.