A child with a mask on
May 5, 2020

The Y offers essential workers in the Pilsen area emergency child care at no cost

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago is collaborating with Instituto del Progreso Latino to provide emergency child care services to essential workers in Pilsen, Little Village, and Brighton Park. Thanks to the Y’s Board of Managers and their generous philanthropic support, this will be provided to families at no cost. 

The Y and Instituto enjoy a close relationship due to Instituto’s close proximity to the Rauner Family YMCA. We share a common commitment to supporting families in the area, so partnering to bring affordable emergency child care to the neighborhood is a clear opportunity.

“The neighborhoods that surround the Rauner Family YMCA are full of essential workers: they are on the front lines of this crisis, caring for patients, stocking our grocery store shelves, filling our prescriptions, and driving our buses. We need this workforce to continue working to help us all get through these unprecedented times. However, they have families like the rest of us and deserve access to affordable child care. And no one knows child care like the Y,” said Angel La Luz, Executive Director of the Rauner Family YMCA.

With the state’s assistance, providing child care in a safe environment with structured programming, physical activities, homework help, three meals per day, and a mid-afternoon snack, comes with a $20 per day operational cost. To some of our families, this is simply not affordable. That’s when the Y’s Board of Managers stepped up to offer their collective support. They have launched a fundraising campaign that will allow the Y to offer these services at no cost to families.

"These times require us to redefine how we respond to the need, especially of our essential workers, and it is sincerely our privilege and honor to work together with the YMCA to provide a location for them to offer child care to local families," said Karina Ayala-Bermejo, President and CEO, Instituto del Progreso Latino.

To keep children and staff safe, the Y has put in place several precautionary measures following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to ensure social distancing is practiced consistently throughout the day, including:

  • temperature checks for everyone - children and adults – upon entry,
  • confirm with each participant and staff member that they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms,
  • verify that there has not been any recent contact with anyone known to have COVID-19,
  • eliminate large group activities,
  • reduce group sizes to no more than 10 people total in a room,
  • plan activities that do not require close physical contact,
  • increase the distance between children during table work,
  • serving meals and snacks in the classrooms to avoid congregating in large groups,
  • segment large spaces such as gymnasiums and multi-purpose rooms into multiple sections to maintain a minimum of 6 feet distance,
  • keep groups consistent throughout the day and, as far as possible, maintain the same groups from day to day to reduce the risk of potential cross exposure, and
  • arrange for nightly deep cleaning at each site.

“We wouldn’t be offering child care services if we didn’t feel we could maintain social distancing and keep the children and our valued staff safe. Rest assured that if anyone starts exhibiting symptoms, we will immediately remove and isolate that individual and call their family for immediate pick-up,” said Denise Lam, Chief Operating Officer, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.

Providing this much needed service at a cost that benefits our families is another great example of how the Y community is coming together to take care of those who need it most.

Families can call Member Services at 773-905-5115 (M-F: 8 am -7 pm) to register for child care services and to receive instructions on how to obtain the state subsidy.