It is simply what Forest Park is best at. Collaborations among local institutions and governments to meet a need in a troubled moment.
Well, this would surely exceed anyone’s definition of a troubled moment as the pandemic expands, the economy contracts and stressed Forest Park families are taken to the breaking point.
We are a town of essential workers, of families with kids. And the need to find safe — better than safe — places for these children grows more complex with the wise choice of the District 91 public elementary schools to open the school year only remotely.
Into the void steps the West Cook YMCA, the Community Center and the park district — each filling a specific need and time slot for local families. D91 and the Y have worked hard the past years to build an innovative educational partnership during summers and holidays. This school year the Y will set up child care at Grant White School. Based on past alliances this program will be solid educationally, socially and, now, well focused on safety.
Best of all, D91 will pay the Y and the community center so parents do not need to.
The community center and the park district are filling late-afternoon gaps in the schedule with programs which run until 6 p.m.
This coordinated effort will lift a heavy burden from the stooped shoulders of many a Forest Park family.