Although child care services at Smith Fitness Center have closed due to recent budget cuts, another option, a co-op, has taken its place to help out parents who use the gym.
Co-ops have been used at other installations, said Dianne Belfield, CYSS Kids on-site director. This is the first one at Fort Benning.
“It’s kind of like a swap — in order to use the services you have to volunteer your service,” Belfield said.
Child, Youth and School Services notified parents Feb. 9 that child care services would end Monday. The co-op was an idea by CYSS and given to parents as an alternative “because their main goal is to stay in the same facility as the children. It’s very convenient for them,” Belfield said.
“Mothers need to be able to access the gym,” said Kristan Brown, a parent volunteer. “If you take away child care you take away their ability to go to the gym. Hourly care is hard to get on post at regular intervals, and most baby sitters aren’t available in the mornings due to school schedules.”
Brown said the co-op was important because of the outlet it provides for parents who want to focus on their health.
Brown said she hopes the co-op will encourage parents to continue to go to the gym.
“It is free. No money, just time. It also proves that when a matter is important enough, we can come up with a solution whether there is money or not,” she said.
The co-op is available Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to noon at Smith Fitness Center. Those interested in participating must complete training in CPR and first aid, as well as have a background check. For more information, email Brown at email@example.com.