CHICAGO (CBS) — Frigid temperatures brought another day off for most students in the Chicago area, leaving parents rushing to find daycare or other activities for their children.
For many of those kids, the YMCA ended up being a school away from school, offering not only a place to keep warm, but lots of activities, like swimming and crafts.
“They’ll be swimming, they’ll be upstairs in the gym, they’ve got activities here, and there’s plenty of space for them to roam around in,” said Oak Park YMCA President Phillip Jimenez.
One day at home was enough for the Berry kids of Oak Park. When classes were cancelled for them on Wednesday, they spent the day at home, mostly watching TV.
So Claudia Berry and her husband dropped off their two kids, Maya and Dante, at the YMCA on Thursday, while they went to work.
Dante said he was looking forward to playing with his friends in the gym at the Y.
The Oak Park YMCA was just one of many in the Chicago area to offer a School’s Out special for kids who were not in school on Wednesday and Thursday.
“We have about 25 that are going to be coming in today, and we have room for more. So we could get up to closer to 50 if needed,” said staffer Elizabeth Lopez.
Gary Johnson chose to spend his morning at the Oak Park YMCA, and chose to ride his bike to get there.
“My fingers were half froze today coming here,” he said. “I bike to the Y, and then I swim, so now I’m soaking wet under all my layers, and then I pedal back home.”
The School’s Out program at the Oak Park YMCA costs about $5 per hour for members, and slightly more for non-members.