Filling a need

Published 5:15 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Albert Lea Family Y turns focus to child care to aid workers


The Albert Lea Family Y is adjusting to a change in routine as it has closed all fitness activities at the facility and is now focused on child care for people who still need to work amid the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

The organization is accepting children in kindergarten through fifth grade and is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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“There’s always going to be needs for child care,” said Traci Sorlie, child care coordinator. “There are tons of children in the community.”

Being a parent herself, Sorlie said she didn’t know what she would do if her day care shut down.

“If we can help in any way, that’s what we’re here for,” she said.

Sorlie said so far the organization has had up to 12 children on any given day, but numbers fluctuate based on parent schedules.

Staff are running the operation like they would their summer camps, except without the field trips.

A typical day includes learning activities — including math, STEM activities and reading — gym time, art projects and free time, along with breakfast, lunch and a snack.

One of the staff members has used the facility’s yoga room to teach the children yoga, and once the weather improves outside, they plan to utilize some time outdoors.

“The kids are still happy and playing,” she said about how the operation is running after its first week.

Sorlie said children and staff are asked to sanitize regularly and parents are limited access to the front area near the reception desk to limit risk of spreading germs.

To get signed up for child care at the Y, call 373-8228.

Registration fees have been waived, and the cost is $30 a day.