SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - We all know healthcare workers are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. They are working long hours in tough times, but they still have their own families to care for.
St Joseph’s/Candler wanted to do something special for their heroes, so they are offering free childcare.
They have three locations to serve their staff. They care for their children from babies to 12-years-old for more than 12 hours a day.
It’s a day full of learning at St. Joseph’s/Candler’s day camp. Students Thursday got a lesson in handwashing. With paint they showed children how germs spread and how you need to wash your hands for a full 20 seconds, even singing through their lesson. The day camp is free for children of St. Joseph’s/Candler staff.
“It’s real important for our co-workers to know that their kids are being taken care of and that they are safe,” said Steve Pound, Vice President of Human Resources at St. Joseph’s/Candler. “So we’ve created this sanctuary so they don’t have to worry about their kids while they are at work, they can focus on taking care of patients.”
While thousands of kids are at home with schools out and daycares closed, these students have a different reality in a safe, clean environment with structure.
“Instead of doing it (homework) at home and not having many things to do after,” said Hayley a student at St. Joseph’s/Candler day camp. “I am done. Instead of taking a long time to do it. I think this is better for it.”
But their day isn’t all work. Students love the variety of things they get to do.
“It’s fun,” said Khyce. “We play games, we go outside.”
“We dance,” said Oliva.
“It’s fun,” added Kai’Mahri. “It’s better than real school.”
The day camps are run by nurse practitioners, teachers and more. They begin at 6:30 am and go until 7:30 pm to help hospital staff who are working 12 hour shifts. While it’s a lot, leaders say this is a labor of love to serve those who are fighting to keep our community safe.
“I feel blessed to be able to participate in that way to take the burden off of those individuals,” said Carol Barbee, Nurse Practitioner and WellPath Navigator at St. Joseph’s/Candler.
But the day camp workers aren’t the only ones who notice the healthcare workers sacrifice…
“I’m very proud of my mom because she’s helping people get their lives saved every day,” said Maizie, a student at the day camp at Benedictine.
These students have learned so much at day camp that they have a lesson for us all.
“Wash your hands and keep safe,” said Shamiah, a day camp student.
Leaders say the three day camps will continue as long as they are needed.