For many Hawaii families, after-school care options are limited

Hawaii public school students are set to return to the classroom in just a matter of days.
Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 8:55 AM HST|Updated: Aug. 4, 2023 at 11:50 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands of families on Oahu rely on the A+ program, which providers after-school care to kids from kindergarten to sixth grade.

The longtime program is operated by the Hawaii Department of Education and partners like the YMCA of Honolulu. The Y’s Vice President of Marketing and Mission Advancement Lisa Ontai says A+ is a lifeline for families that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford after-school care.

“We offer support for parents so they can work to support their families. More than 4,600 Oahu children enroll in our A+ program at more than 60 DOE sites across the island,” Ontai said.

A+ is so popular, many families are on a waitlist.

The YMCA of Honolulu says part of that is the demand for the program but they also have to limit the number of families they serve due to staff shortages.

“College students, parents, and seniors are great staff members. The YMCA Summer Junior Leader Teen program traditionally has nurtured future YMCA staff members,” added Ontai.

Special Section: Back to School 2023

The YMCA recently increased the pay for A+ staff members. Youth group leaders can earn up to $16.50 per hour and site coordinators can make up to $19 an hour.

There are also a number of after-school programs some families may not have heard of.

“Kidzart Hawaii” serves students as young as the age of two all the way to adulthood. They have the opportunity to have fun, learn to draw, and experience creativity building exercises.

“Our program is offered at schools and other community locations, our mobile program is complimented with challenging 3-D projects, new and varied art mediums, and our unique multi-cultural curriculum,” said Kidzart Hawaii co-owner Asia Marie Di Antonio.

Another program serves disadvantaged middle schools on Oahu and Hawaii Island.

“After School All-Stars Hawaii” serves students on Oahu at Jarrett Middle, Kalakaua Middle, Keelikolani Middle, King Intermediate, Nanakuli High & Intermediate, Waialua High & Intermediate, Waianae Intermediate and Washington Middle.

On Hawaii Island, students can enroll at Kalanianaole Elementary & Intermediate, Keaau Middle, Pahoa High & Intermediate and Waiakea Intermediate.

“Our programs include academics, there’s a compulsory or mandatory academic program and that’s for an hour every day. Then for two hours, we have enrichment and sports programs. Those can be anything from sewing, art, soccer, football, basketball and more,” said Paula Fitzell, President and CEO of After School All-Stars Hawaii.

That program is completely free and has no enrollment cap.

For more information on all three programs, click the links below: