MINNEAPOLIS — May 21 is Red Nose Day, supporting the Boys & Girls Club of America and the fight to end child poverty. Like many organizations, this year's event will be held online.
The Boys & Girls Club of Central Minnesota has shifted their day-to-day operations since COVID-19 hit, providing child care to healthcare workers.
The emergency childcare services allow people like Kim Montour to provide essential medical services while not having to worry about finding a babysitter for her son Mikey. She says the club has been providing Mikey with academic support, career development and healthy lifestyle activities for the last year, “He loves it. It’s great because he’s got friends there and the staff are like family to him.”
Procedures and programming have dramatically changed because of safety procedures. Mary Swingle, President and CEO Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota, says when youth, staff, or any other person comes into the site they are immediately assessed for health with a temperature check. The kids stay in groups with two adults and no more than 8 children throughout the day, washing their hands every 30 minutes.
Distance learning plays a larger role this year. Staff are using virtual programming to check in and connect, encouraging kids with their studies. They also touch base to check in on kid's social and emotional aspects - important for youth.
Director Janelle Curry says routine is important for children. “They miss the consistency so seeing our faces on zoom or Skype makes things feel normal.” She says the kids miss participating in daily activities after school at the building's physical location.
These efforts give parents working on the front line the ability to continue to provide care for those who need it most. Kim says that thanks to the Boys & Girls Club, she hasn’t missed a day of work, “It’s meant that I can stay out there. It’s meant that I can continue to do my work while this pandemic is going on. They’re like family to us, they really are. The Boys & Girls Club has been so wonderful for our family.”
This is a huge undertaking by the Boys and Girls Club. So, if you can support Red Nose Day, please do. Head to noseson.com to donate or drop by a Walgreens and buy a bracelet for a buck to help.
You can also donate while watching the Red Nose Special, it starts tonight at 7p.m. on KARE 11.