Dear Parents and Community Members:
As you may be aware, Governor Baker recently issued an emergency order temporarily closing all early childhood education programs across the State of Massachusetts. Under this order, all Early Education & Care (EEC) licensed centers must suspend their childcare programs by Sunday, March 22, 2020. This will remain in effect until April 6, 2020 and may be extended as needed.
Understanding that there are parents who are first responders, health professionals, and essential service workers who must work during the pandemic, the Early Education and Care Department has approved Exempt Emergency Child Care Programs throughout our city and state. These designated sites will be the only child care programs allowed to operate, beginning the week of March 23. This prioritizes public health and safety while maintaining critical service.
In an unprecedented and historical move, the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester, Guild of St. Agnes, YWCA Central Massachusetts, and Pakachoag Acres have become approved emergency sites, and are joining forces to meet the child care needs of families of first responders, essential City of Worcester workers, and employees of UMass Memorial Health Care and St. Vincent’s.
What does this all mean?
If your children were previously enrolled in one of our school year youth development programs at Plumley Village, Great Brook Valley, or Harrington Clubhouse, or attended our EEC-licensed school age child care program (also located at Harrington), those programs are temporarily closed. As ordered by the governor, we cannot provide child care to the kids we normally serve during the school year.
Our Harrington Clubhouse, as mandated by the state, will only be serving children of families who are first responders, hospital workers, and City of Worcester essential employees, beginning the week of March 23.
What if my family needs child care?
Please visit the EEC site at https://eeclead.force.com/apex/EEC_ChildCareEmergencyProcedure. There is a list of over 300 approved emergency child care sites, as well as a system to apply for emergency child care services.
What services will the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester continue to provide?
The following programs and services are available to our Club families and the public:
1. Food pantry (prioritizing our Club members and their families), will be open at our Harrington Clubhouse. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-754-2686 to schedule a pick-up time.
2. Grab & Go Lunch - in partnership with Friendly House, we will provide bagged lunches and breakfasts at the following sites and times: Plumley Village (16 Laurel St., basement of the high rise) and Great Brook Valley (180 Constitution Ave) at 12:30 pm AND Harrington Clubhouse (Main South neighborhood- 65 Boys & Girls Club Way) at 1 pm. This service is available for all children.
3. Case management services - our case managers are available to make referrals, provide support, or just be there to listen. Please contact 508-754-2686 and ask to speak to one of our caseworkers, or if you would like to schedule a phone conference, please email us at email@example.com and let us know what day and time works best for you.
4. Mentoring program - although we cannot meet with our youth mentees at our sites, we will be meeting with them via phone or videoconferencing, utilizing Zoom. Our mentors will be reaching out this week.
5. School supplies - we have a limited amount of school supplies, such as paper, pencils, pens, crayons, and folders, etc. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a time for pick-up.
We know this is a difficult and challenging time for everyone. The Boys & Girls Club of Worcester stands in solidarity with you and will do whatever it takes. Please let us know how we can be a support by contacting us at email@example.com or 508-754-2686.
Liz Hamilton, MSW
Boys & Girls Club of Worcester
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