Mark Spain Partners with the YMCA to Help First Responders and Healthcare Workers with Childcare During Coronavirus
Friday, April 17th, 2020
Healthcare workers and first responders such as EMT, policemen and firefighters are faced with both the gravity of the current health crisis and the overwhelming demand for their expertise during the coronavirus outbreak. On top of that, they have the same everyday concerns, needs and responsibilities every other family in America has right now—childcare, homeschooling, paying bills, grocery shopping and keeping everyone healthy with social distancing.
The Mark Spain Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Mark Spain Real Estate, saw the potential to help. After all, Mark Spain Real Estate was built by focusing on people and maintains a core value of leading with a servant’s heart which guides the company’s daily business.
Mark Spain Real Estate has a long affiliation with the YMCA and annually fundraises to provide children access to programs including summer camp, regardless of their family’s financial circumstances. When Mark Spain learned of the YMCA’s efforts to activate its branch locations to provide childcare for healthcare workers and emergency responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis, Spain knew his company had to be involved and was grateful for the opportunity to serve.
As such, he redirected the efforts of the Mark Spain Foundation to ensure the company continued to serve the community and make a difference in this time of need by helping to provide a much-needed service. The FirstResponderChildcare.org site went live this week to provide more than 1,000 children of first responders and healthcare workers access to daily childcare.
“During this unprecedented time in our nation, it’s important we care for the people who are taking care of us,” explained Mark Spain. “First responders and healthcare workers are fighting so hard to keep everyone safe. They should not have to worry about who will take care of their children while doing this life-saving work.”
The YMCA of Metro Atlanta partnered with area hospitals, the Governor’s office and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning to safely transition YMCA branch locations to deliver this childcare. Each center is designed to serve approximately 140 children, ages 0-12 depending on the facility, and will be open extended hours, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to support caregivers’ needs.
Based on CDC guidelines for social distancing, children are in groups of no more than 10. The YMCA partnered with local hospital systems, health officials and the CDC to implement strict safety standards at each location to check for symptoms and monitor temperatures of all participants. Temperatures of both children and parents/guardians are taken daily at both drop-off and pick-up.
"The Y has been a vital part of the Atlanta community for more than 160 years, and the services we provide are bridges to safety and security for our entire community, especially during this time of crisis. We are grateful for the support of our members, donors, partners and community leaders, like Mark Spain, that join us in this effort,” explained YMCA of Metro Atlanta President and CEO Lauren Koontz.
With a cost of more than $40 a day per child, funds are needed to help defray the program’s costs. Mark Spain Real Estate is fundraising to provide childcare for over 1,000 children. By reaching its fundraising goal, Mark Spain Real Estate and the YMCA will, in turn, help local hospitals stay fully staffed in their efforts to protect and care for our communities.
“These parents are heroes in our community who deserve our help,” said Mark Spain.
The YMCA has mobilized its network, facilities and partners to create and facilitate a fun and safe place for these children to grow and engage daily during this time. To register children for the program, visit www.ymcaatlanta.org/firstresponders.
There are currently seven YMCA childcare sites in metro Atlanta with five bus pickup sites around the region. The YMCA of Metro Atlanta is prepared to add more locations to expand the program, if and when the need arises.