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How does after-school care make a difference for working families?

Suzanne knows her two kids love their Neighborhood House after-school program, because whenever she picks them up early, they are disappointed to leave; Suzanne says they “want to stay because they’re having fun doing the activities the teachers develop.”

Both her kids attend MLK Elementary in Northeast Portland and have participated in Neighborhood House’s after-school programming since kindergarten. Suzanne’s daughter Millie is now in the first grade, and her son Wyatt is in the fourth. During the pandemic, Suzanne has relied on the program’s flexibility and adaptability. The program’s shift to full-time care for kids attending school remotely allowed Suzanne to work from home, easing her concerns that her work schedule would making organizing child care an impossible challenge. She was comforted by the knowledge that her kids were in a safe space; teachers and staff in the program were diligent about safety protocols, and Suzanne “always felt really confident that [her] kids would be protected and safe.”

Beyond a safe place, Neighborhood House’s after-school program has helped Millie and Wyatt thrive. They get support with their homework, and their teachers “really take the time to ensure the program complements the kids’ education.” Their teachers design fun learning activities that foster creative thinking and problem-solving skills that reinforce what Millie and Wyatt are learning in school. They also get the chance to show their creativity through frequent art projects – a favorite for both kids. For Suzanne, the program is “more like flexible school instead of child care.” Children deserve to thrive in a safe and engaging learning environment, and parents should not have to worry about choosing between child care and keeping their jobs.

Will you join us in helping working families by supporting Neighborhood House this year?