YMCA Honolulu seeks funding for new centers geared toward students learning online

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Updated: Aug. 22, 2020 at 12:51 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The YMCA of Honolulu is seeking financial assistance for a new program to help students whose schools are implementing distance learning models.

The full day program costs $320 a week.

Lisa Ontai, vice president of marketing and mission advancement for the YMCA, said that barely covers operational costs, which have more than doubled because of health and safety guidelines.

Despite that, the YMCA says it may need to lower their prices to help families struggling financially.

“They’re already strapped and they don’t have the funds to afford that so we are looking for state or city support or private foundation support, to come together as a community,” said Ontai.

Kandice Rohner, a behavioral health specialist in Kailua, and her husband enrolled their 10-year-old son JD in a YMCA learning center program so they could stay on the job.

“It’s important for both of us to be working. We wouldn’t be able to afford living here in Hawaii if there’s only one of us working,” Rohner said.

“We feel good that our son is in a safe place, but we know that he is getting his work done and he’s also able to do some of these enrichment activities that are really good for his mental and social health.”

On Thursday, the YMCA received a grant from the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, which allows them to lower the fee of the program at Windward Y to $195.

For now, the learning centers are only offered at the Nu’uanu and Windward Y Branches.

Next week, the YMCA and other child care providers will be presenting their challenges and funding needs to the City Council’s Committee of Economic Assistance and Revitalization.

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