CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati has expanded their programs to help more kids as schools have adapted to COVID-19, but it has come at a cost.
The Boys and Girls Club is traditionally an after-school program for kids in the area.
Because some schools have gone to a blended learning approach, the organization decided they also needed to adjust their programs.
“We are in five major school districts," Crystal Allen, VP of Operations, explains. "We straddle two states. When they shared their plans for virtual learning, we immediately recognized that we have to meet the academic needs of our young people.”
The club is now operating from 7:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. five days a week instead of opening only after school.
This allows students who may not have internet access at home to log on to their virtual classes.
The club also had to hire 16 staff members including certified teachers to cover the extra hours and to help the students through the transition.
Outside of the classroom time, students also have a socially distanced playtime and a gym class bringing back the normalcy to their everyday lives.
But all of this comes with a price.
“It is very costly when you consider staff," explains Allen. "We are also providing breakfast lunch and dinner in addition to an a.m. snack and a p.m. snack. It’s about a $200,000 additional cost. That we have not budgeted for.”
Several businesses have stepped in to help with donations including 5,000 masks from Boomer Naturals.
Although they are being forced to stretch their budget, Allen says it is all worth it.
“This is for a lot of them a home away from home and for them to be here and be in the club it means a lot to them,” Allen says.
Right now, there is a big need for teachers, and they have quite a few positions open.
As they hire more teachers, they will be able to bring in more students.
There is currently a waiting list because they can only have nine students per instructor.