‘Made my life a lot easier’: Voting parents participate in Hinesville YMCA’s free child care program

WSAV NOW

HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) — Several parents took advantage of the opportunity for no-cost child care at participating YMCA locations as they cast their ballots on Election Day.

“I found out that they were doing free child care for voting, and that just made my life a lot easier without having to bring my kids to the polling place because they are absolutely wild, so I really appreciate it!” laughed parent Briana Dickson. 

The mom had just finished voting as she returned to the Liberty County/Armed Services YMCA in Hinesville to pick up her children, Judy, Luca and Elijah. 

Last month, WSAV NOW reported that Care.com planned to cover child care costs for voting parents and guardians on Nov. 3. 

The Liberty County location was one of Georgia’s only two Armed Services YMCA centers.

As the other participating YMCA is located in Augusta, the center in Hinesville served as a convenient and local option for parents in the Coastal Empire.

“We partner with the Armed Services YMCA because we offer a lot of programs for the military, but for this particular program, they told us to open it up to the entire public, so anybody in the area can come and utilize this,” said Mary Arocha, district vice president for YMCA of Coastal Georgia.

By late morning on Tuesday, Arocha says at least 15 children had already been dropped off as their parents and guardians went to vote.

Parents are able to come and collect their little ones as late as 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, she adds.

“We’re getting lots of phone calls because they didn’t have to sign up way ahead of time, they could come and sign up as we go,” Arocha told WSAV NOW. “Each hour block that we have, we can have 20 children in there.”

The center has two child care directors overseeing 20 children at a time.

As a parent herself, Arocha shared that she relates to parents trying to find a place for their children during important times like this.

“We’re just trying to let the parents feel at ease about going to vote today and doing anything that we can do to possibly help with that,” Arocha said.

She says it’s a “great feeling” for the community outreach organization to be able to assist local families as they make their vote count.

“I think that it’s super important that we offer this to the community and give them that freedom [so] that there won’t be any blocks to them being able to go and vote,” Arocha said.

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