Parents across the country have been feeling the pressure as a shortage of childcare spaces has made it more difficult for parents.
In Kingston, Ont., the Boys and Girls Club took a step towards beating that deficit on Saturday.
It was a momentous occasion for the Boys and Girls Club South East as they officially opened the doors of the new Boys and Girls Club Childcare Centre.
“During the day, the daycare will be on the first floor and we’re going to have 30 toddler spaces and 45 preschool spaces. Then, before and after school, we have 45 kindergarten and over 100 six-to-12 spaces,” said Harold Parsons, executive director for the Boys and Girls Club.
This is a positive sign for many of the parents who attended Saturday’s open house who’ve been juggling work and raising a family while desperately trying to find child care.
“I didn’t even realize it was such an issue until he was maybe like three months, and I was like ‘I’m behind,'” said Alana Raison, a mother of one.
“It’s next to impossible, the wait list is just so long in this city. I know this Boys and Girls Club opening up is gonna help a lot of people,” added Nathaniel Isnor, a father of two.
The building at 559 Bagot St. underwent nearly a quarter of a million dollars in renovation to turn it into a state-of-the-art child care facility. The money came from the Boys and Girls Club, the City of Kingston and the Davies Foundation.
“We’ve invested about another quarter million dollars to re-do the inside and the painting and the floors and to make it child friendly, and equipment, so that’s been actually the fun project,” added Parsons.
Parents say it hasn’t been easy trying to find a spot for their kids among the sea of other parents doing the same, but seeing a facility like this open up in Kingston gives them hope.
“For sure, it’s good to see that there are more options now. We’re checking them all out even though I’m in the West End,” said Raison.
“Yeah, it does, it really does (give hope), especially talking to some of the staff here. They seem to all be super cheerful, super helpful, super excited about it even,” said Isnor.
Parsons says the waitlist for their new facility already has more than 400 names.
As for the future, he says there is more in store when it comes to helping local kids and families.
“We’ve recently acquired the Kingston Robotics Lab and we’re continuing to be focused on education for children and youth as well,” Parsons said.