Ithaca has no after-school program for pre-K kids, and Varna has a solution

Need after-school care for your pre-kindergarten kids in the Ithaca area? You’re not alone, and the Varna Community Center wants to solve that problem, with your help!

Kids playing. 14850 file photo.This non-profit on Route 366 east of Ithaca, which hosts events all year long, is preparing to register a school-aged childcare program with New York State in time for next school year, and they’re raising funds this week to meet some of the requirements.

The program would support 24 pre-K students who’d ride school buses to Varna where they would be cared for from about 2:30-6pm Monday through Thursday and 10:30am-6pm on Friday. Older siblings could attend, too, making it easier for parents could pick up their youngsters in one place. There would be room for 16 K-5 kids.

Varna Community Center organizers say they have applied for grants to cover the major startup expenses, but they have a goal of ,000 in small, local donations to cover smaller fixes, like changes to exterior doors and repairs to an exit ramp.

The fundraiser is part of this Wednesday’s 24-hour “Giving Is Gorges” event, and donations can be made online from midnight at givingisgorges.org. Last summer, 119 separate non-profit organizations in the Ithaca area took in over $110,000 thanks to 974 donors who participated in the first day-long Giving Is Gorges event. The fundraiser is hosted online by GiveGab, a non-profit organizing platform that provides fundraising tools and volunteer-matching opportunities.

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