An unassuming building on the Sterling Highway holds a quality of life issue for us: the Boys & Girls Club of Homer provides after-school care for kids every school day plus summers for only $20 per child per year. It is the old middle school, and has an art/music room, computer lab, homework corner, gym and kitchen. Staff plan activities in each of the areas daily. And each day they serve a substantial snack to the 30-50 (a very rough guess!) kids that visit.
Quality after-school care is an important consideration for people who work, and we feel very blessed to have a “B&G” in Homer. Our kids ride the bus 14 miles from their elementary school in Fritz Creek into town (free – it’s part of the route), and can have fun running around the gym, doing homework, chatting with friends or whatever suits their fancy until 6 p.m. It is a relief for us to have someplace our kids can go when we’re working or in meetings. Plus, having them get a ride into town from school is an added benefit.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough owns this building and wants to sell it to Kachemak Bay Campus for $1 (the college holds classes upstairs). However, the problem is that it is an old building with asbestos, and some major repairs are needed. No one wants to take over a potential money drain like this. Burning the place down for fire crew practice has even been discussed (after the asbestos has been removed, of course). It is a dilemma, and it sure makes me wonder what’s going to happen to all the kids who come here. Many parents cannot (or would not care to) afford childcare, daycare providers are scarce, there are not many alternate buildings for the Boys and Girls Club to occupy, and budget cuts have already cut the hours provided.
Despite these woes, the Club’s doors stay open, and we fully appreciate each time our kids have a safe, fun, comfortable place to go after school. Having a Boys and Girls Club in Homer has definitely added to the quality of our lives here, and we certainly hope it will continue to be able to provide this valuable service.
Michelle Waclawski is a Homer resident.
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