Local News

Durham Business Tries To Ease Parents' Pain Over Teacher Workdays

Posted April 1, 2002

— The Metrosports Center in Durham looks like any other health club outside. Inside, it is a kid's delight because when school is out, they have a place to go.

The Metrosports' Kids Club started as just a summer camp to help parents with child care needs. However, as the county's yearround school programs took off, parents needed day care for a couple of weeks every quarter. Camp director Donna Thompson saw an opportunity to grow her business by helping parents with the irritating problem -- one day-only care.

"No one else was doing it and we wanted to build a program," she said.

Thompson went to local public schools in Durham, Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Orange County and asked if she could place a flyer with each student to let parents know her camp was open on teacher workdays and during yearround school intercessions. Her plan worked and parents started bringing their children.

Jack Frush hated teacher workdays. It meant going to work with his mom or dad.

"Most of the time we just had to go to where they worked at Duke Hospital. Most of the time, we had to go there and stay with them and that wasn't very fun," he said.

Alex Spathis did not like it much either.

"I went to my dad's work, and I would draw and just run around his shop," he said.

Area YWCA's were the first to start day programs tailored to specific school districts' off time. Other day cares have picked up on summer vacations and yearround school intercessions from one to three weeks.

Those teacher workdays created problems. Some schools will take the children for one day, but parents still have to pay for a week's care. One day of care at Metrosports costs about $35.

College and high school students help supervise. There is one adult for every 10 kids every day. The low student-teacher ratio pleases Simone Akkari's parents.

"They feel very comfortable with me coming here. Whenever I am out of school, I come here," she said.

"We play a lot of sports here and it is the funnest camp I've ever been to," said participant Ellie Stevens.

One day of care at Metrosports costs about $35. A week costs $155.

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