PARKERSBURG – The YMCA of Parkersburg this week inaugurated an expanded space for walk-in child care in the community.
For years, the Y has offered free child care to children aged 6 weeks to 12 years in a daycare room for members of the facility or clients using a day pass. But the new Kids Zone can accommodate up to 30 at a time.
“It’s actually three times the space. “ Parkersburg YMCA CEO Jeff Olson said. “We are able to serve a lot more now than in the past. “
Work on the former racquetball court turned into a heavyweight area began in January 2021, said Olson and facilities manager Mark Posten. The 800-square-foot room features toys for different ages, as well as books and art supplies to keep kids entertained while their parents practice, swim, or play a game of basketball.
Olson said the Y is not just a place of practice, but an organization with a mission to promote Christian principles and serve the community. Providing free child care for which members and clients do not have to register removes a barrier for parents who may have difficulty finding time to train.
“We tend to use this as an excuse to explain why we don’t become more physically active,” Olson said.
A press release from the Y said the Kids Zone gives parents a chance to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which is a positive example for their children, while also giving them the opportunity to socialize.
The renovated area was celebrated Wednesday with a ribbon cutting by the Mid-Ohio Valley Chamber of Commerce. Michael Browning represented US Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., at the event.
“There is nothing more important than making sure children have a safe environment to learn and play” he read a letter from Manchin.
The Kids Zone is available from 8 a.m. to noon and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays.
Evan Bevins can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.