When schools went remote last year, a lot of families were left scrambling to figure out how to balance work and school – with a lot of new responsibilities being heaped on older siblings.
“I had to help out with my younger siblings that were in school because sometimes my mom didn’t know what to do,” said eleven-year-old Serafina Zoller of Worcester.
Zoller says it was a lot to juggle.
“And on top of that I was also doing my own school, so I had to like take breaks and help them out,” said Zoller.
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“So many kids were staying at home watching younger siblings and the stress of doing homeschooling and caring for younger siblings started to become just too much for them,” said Raquel Castro-Corazzini, director of the city’s Youth Opportunities division.
So Worcester’s Youth Opportunities Director Raquel Castro-Corazzini says they teamed up with the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester to create an expanded babysitting club.
“We needed to support our kids supporting the kids in their lives,” said Cassie Marley-Robles, Teen Coordinator and Job Ready Instructor with Boys & Girls Club of Worcester.
The sessions were a mix of on-site afterschool programs and video lessons that could be watched at any time.
Marley-Robles said, “We do a lot of the basic childcare, we go over emergency situations, we have simulations and scenarios that we play out.”
COVID-19 in Massachusetts
From role playing how to handle tantrums to learning the basics of first aid and CPR, the babysitting club has been a pandemic lifeline…for these kids and their parents.
Zoller's mom Tana got emotional as she said, “I’m not only wicked proud of her, she’s grown up a lot.”
“They come to a place where they can find empathy and comradery with other young people that are going through the same thing,” said Castro-Corazzini, “now they know they’re not alone.”
Participating in the Babysitting Club is free.
They will have had about 300 graduates of the five-week program when the current spring session wraps up. And they will be holding more sessions over the summer.