I am writing to share my concerns about the potential loss of Community Connections. I have a 7-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter at Union Elementary School. They access CC two days a week for after school care, and have attended school vacation camps and summer programs. CC fills in an enormous gap in our community.
Have you ever taken the time to explore what after school child care programs are offered in our town? There aren’t any besides CC. I know of children who go home with grandparents, their stay at home mothers and fathers, some have babysitters, and I know of children as young as 1st graders who go home to be alone for a few hours until their parents come home from work. There are many families in Montpelier who have the luxury of having a family member at home for their children at the end of the school day, but there are probably more who do not. We need to figure out how to make sure that CC stays in place to provide an enriching, fun and safe after school environment for our children who have working parents.
An incredible part about CC is its affordability. They offer a sliding scale allowing ALL families who work the option of enrolling their children in quality after school care, vacation programs and summer camps. Not everyone can afford the other summer camps that are out there. Where will these children go if they cannot access CC because it doesn’t exist and their only option is higher cost programs?
Have you ever passed by the library after the school bell rings at the elementary and middle school? If you do, you will come upon piles of unchaperoned children hanging out both outside and inside the library. This is where parents send their kids to meet them in that in between time of when school gets out and parents are still at work. Check in with the librarians about it. Ask them what they think will happen if there is no longer CC after school programming? I guarantee that the crowd both outside and inside of the library will double. And there will be more kids roaming the streets of Montpelier instead of learning to sing or making animated movies or playing tag in the gym or learning Spanish or making sculptures out of recycled materials.
I hope that as a community we can come together to continue this invaluable programming for our children and families.