Local organizations are banding together to provide childcare to families during the impending statewide teacher walkout.
The HFV Wilson Community Center is working with Sara’s Project volunteers, the Ardmore YMCA is working with Girls on the Run and afterschool program Cities in Schools is pairing up with the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce to find volunteers to help them house kids during the would-be school day.
Ardmore Chamber of Commerce President Mita Bates said school closures will impact the whole community.
“We represent the business community, which is also going to be impacted as employees have to make plans for childcare in an atypical situation,” Bates said. “The YMCA, Cities in Schools and HFV Wilson Community Center have all stepped forward. They have the capacity to serve larger numbers of students.”
The Chamber is seeking volunteers who can help Cities in Schools mentors manage their students.
Anyone looking to volunteer with Cities in Schools should call the Chamber at 580-223-7765.
“The community of Ardmore always comes together,” Bates said. “They do it time after time, and they’ll do it again.”
The HFV Wilson Community Center will be open to students on Monday as well. Parents can drop their children off from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Program coordinator Geoffrey Moore said the center will serve breakfast, lunch and an early dinner.
“This is for anyone in this area,” Moore said. “It’s going to be a strain on some parents and families, so we wanted to make sure we were there for the kids.”
The center will return to normal operating hours on April 3, then return to the walkout schedule on April 4 if the walkout is still in effect.
Girls on the Run Director Erica Gay said the organization will pair up with the Ardmore YMCA. She said the idea is to pair organizations with a large volunteer base with organizations that have the space to house students.
“Our role is going to be to supply volunteers since we have a volunteer base,” Gay said. “They have background checks and we know they’re capable of helping.”
YMCA Director Jana Weichtbrodt  said Ardmore City Schools will send buses to the YMCA at lunchtime, then bus students back to the center.
Weichtbrodt  said parents will need to sign a waiver for their children before they can be dropped off for the day. She said it’s ideal to fill it out before Monday, but parents can do the paperwork on Monday morning if they need to.
“There was a lot of us there, everyone was willing to participate,” Weichtbrodt  said. “It was very vital to them.”
Anyone interested in volunteering at the Ardmore YMCA during the walkout should contact the organization by Friday.
“We have to do it,” Weichtbrodt  said. “We want to do it. It’s all about the kids.”