On unexpected holiday, YMCA program helps parents in Kanawha County

The Charleston Family YMCA's Full Day Out Enrichment program is for those affected by unexpected school closures.

All state offices and schools remained closed Wednesday in observance of the National Day of Mourning to honor the memory of former President George H.W. Bush.

For many parents, it was somewhat unexpected, as they scrambled to find child care, but one program in Kanawha County saved the day. The Charleston Family YMCA's Full Day Out Enrichment program is for those affected by weather cancellations, faculty in-service days,and state or federal holidays. Parents can start dropping off kids about 7 a.m. and can pick them up as late as 6 p.m.

"I like school, but some days, I just don't want to go," Layla Lewis, 8, said.

Tristen Stiltner, 11, said Wednesday provided an opportunity.

"It's kind of a bummer, but it's kind of important for us to take some time to pray and wish his family good luck," Stiltner said.

It's open to elementary and middle school students in the Kanawha Valley, allowing kids to remain in an environment with their peers while learning and staying active.

"We feel like this is a program that's pretty vital to working families in the valley, and we're happy to be able to provide the service," said Anthony Lewis of the YMCA. "It's kind of disconnecting kids from electronics. They don't have a lot of electronics time; they have to engage with each other, run around and play."

Kids said it proves them with a good outlet.

"They're kind of like family to me. I've been here for a long time, and it makes me feel special," Stiltner said.

You don't have to be a member of the YMCA to enroll your child, but you do have to act in advance to get them registered. Visit the Charleston YMCA's website for more information.

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