Next Tuesday, Nov. 3, is Election Day. For some parents, that means trying to find child care so they can go to the polls. With many child and youth services locations on installations still closed, this might prove to be difficult for military families. However, thanks to a partnership between the Armed Services YMCA and Care.com, military families can drop off their children for up to four hours at one of 25 participating ASYMCA locations across the country while they exercise their civic duty for free child care on Election Day.
Chief Development Officer of the Armed Services YMCA Dorene Ocamb understands the challenges that working parents face. Since the start of the pandemic, she’s been working on ways to make child care accessible and financially possible for military families.
“Earlier this year at the beginning of the pandemic we reached out to Care.com to partner with them to help military families who were faced with child care issues since CYS locations were closing everywhere and military families were needing to find backup care,” Ocamb said.
Care.com answered the call and offered AFYMCA members a free 90-day premium membership to help offset some of those challenges, and that’s where the partnership started. Toward the end of summer, Care.com reached out to Ocamb and her team and said they had a crazy idea – they wanted to provide free child care to parents who wanted to exercise their right to vote.
“Our expectation is that this year lines are going to be significantly longer than years past, especially because of the enhanced sanitation processes in place. We don’t want any parent to feel like they can’t go out and vote because they have to worry about entertaining their kid for that time,” Ocamb said.
Part of the ASYMCA’s core mission is that child care should never stand in the way of a person to seek unemployment, healthcare, or in this case, the right to vote. The ASYMCA is an association of the YMCA, so Ocamb said it made sense to lean on locations across the country for the Care.com partnership.
“If we can do just one thing and take the worry of child care on Election Day off a parent’s plate, then we’re doing what we set out to do,” Ocamb said.
There were still slots available at the 25 participating locations as of Friday, but Ocamb stressed that they’re going fast. To take advantage of this opportunity, contact a location and reserve your spot. Then, drop off your little one while you head to the polls. Child care is provided in four-hour increments. YMCAs across the country are participating in this event, with most locations located near military installations.
The ASYMCA is the oldest military support organization in the country and has been working to strengthen military families since 1861. It has 12 branches, more than 200 program centers and serves 93 installations worldwide. Programs are tailored for locations to best support the needs of military families. Most of these programs are offered at low or no cost, and there are no dues or membership fees. Find out more here.Read comments