When the world shut down in March 2020 many first responders and essential workers needed accessible and affordable child care. Families needed to quickly figure out how to balance full-time caregiving with their full-time jobs.

This problem was especially challenging for health care workers, first responders, and essential workers who were fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. They urgently needed care for their children so they could continue to work — our community was depending on them. The YMCA kept early learning centers open to support these infrastructure employees.


"There were many times parents would pull up and have to sit in their cars for a few minutes. They'd cry. They had a rough day. We didn't know what their day looked like, but making sure that when they came in here they knew what their child's day looked like."

Lori Stacy, Barkley Early Learning Center Director