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YMCA’s experiencing staffing shortage

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 6:12 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Every year, thousands of Savannah-Chatham students count on the YMCA before and after school program.

But this year there is a major concern just three weeks before the school year begin - a critical staffing shortage.

“Right now, we are looking at possibly not opening a couple of the sites because we just simply don’t have enough staff to go around,” YMCA Association Childcare Director Becky Lehto said.

The YMCA takes their Y-BASE program into 35 sites across Chatham County. They need nearly 200 employees to make the enrichment successful but are more than 70 employees short this year.

“It’s really a great all around experience for the children. They are not just sitting around with nothing to do after school, but unfortunately without staff we’re going to be very limited in who we can offer that too,” Lehto said.

In 2019, their last normal year the Y-BASE program had more than 3,400 students. Students like Taylor, a STEM 8th grader, who loves the after school options.

“The Y, oh my gosh, how am I going to say this. The Y is so much fun like their slogan. I love it so much they have so many possibilities, even if you don’t want to do something or you’re not interested in it they always have something beneficial,” Young said.

But the program at her school currently has no one to run it. Leaders say they are doing their best to find alternative plans and shift staff. They say because of the Savannah-Chatham bussing challenges they expect more need this year and are offering bonuses and more to bring in the part time help.

“We know that you can go to Wendy’s and make the same amount of money, we know that you can go to you know any retail establishment and make the same amount of money, but you’re not going to have the family atmosphere that you have at the Y at those places,” Lehto said. “You’re not going to have your free gym membership, we’re not going to get to know your kids because they’re in our childcare’s and because they are in our Y base programs. We do offer healthcare for part time employees so really if you have never looked at the Y before as an employer please come in and take a look at us.”

If you want to help area children, the YMCA is conducting interviews Monday through Friday and accepting applications now.

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