LIHU‘E — The Boys & Girls Club added a satellite site when the summer program opened, Monday at its three main sites — the Kapa‘a Clubhouse, the Lihu‘e Clubhouse, the West Kaua‘i Clubhouse, and the new satellite site at the Kukui Grove Center.
“They needed the space just for the summer program,” said Melissa McFerrin-Warrack of Kukui Grove. “We’re happy to help them build capacity for families needing a summer program for their children while they go back to work.”
Tina Albao, the Kaua‘i director of Operations and Development for the Boys &Girls Club of Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i Branch, welcomed the additional space, noting that they also just received permission from the Puakea Golf Course to allow the children play space in the grassy area.
“The site is fabulous,” Albao said. “The staff even put in a basketball court mindful of the rules and regulations that come with the pandemic. With the Puakea Golf Course allowing the children a space to play, we could really like this space. But, it’s just for the summer program.”
Albao said the summer program opened Monday with a total enrollment of 110 students spread out over the four sites.
“Our program this year is much smaller than in previous years with physical and social distancing in place to ensure safety,” Albao said. “We’re starting small to become familiar with the new rules and guidelines. That means we have room to add more students.”
The entire process has been about adapting, Albao said. From the start of the pandemic where everything was done via zoom until today when we’re so happy to be able to see the children in person, again.
Following four weeks of the summer program, Albao said school will start for the fall, and the Boys &Girls Club will have to adapt, again, once the final details for back to school are released by the state’s Department of Education.
Students spend from 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the program with lunch being provided by a vendor.
“Today’s lunch is from Hamura’s Saimin,” Albao said. “We try to support the community. The weekends are from a Kukui Grove vendor.”
Albao feels there are a lot of parents in the community who are hesitant about sending their children to school because of their concerns about the novel coronavirus, and the changes to how their children would be cared for.
“The main thing is that the kids want to be here,” Albao said. “We thank them all for their commitment, staying here for eight hours a day, not travelling for the four weeks we’re here. It’s really nice to see everyone in person, again, and it’s nice to let the kids be kids for a little while.”