WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Members of the White Plains YMCA no longer have lack of affordable child care as an excuse to skip workouts.
The Y recently introduced free babysitting for members with children ages 6 weeks to 8 years old. Babysitting is available seven days a week and includes single adult membership. Children can get help with homework and play interactive games.
Adults must be on-site for up to two hours, and can take Zumba, yoga, Spinning, Pilates or any of the other over 60 Y classes included with their membership, visit the gym, swim and do their own workouts. All Y classes are free with membership.
Heather Bell-Pellegrino, Associate Executive Director for the Y, said the program began in early October in response to people seeking child care while exercising. Parents frequently find it challenging to maintain their routines while finding suitable and low-cost childcare alternatives.
“We had a member tell us she would pay for somebody to babysit her children,’’ Bell-Pellegrino said. “She said it was the only way she could exercise. It’s a common concern for a lot of people who say they can’t find the time to exercise.”
Bell-Pellegrino said a key component to the program was opening it up to single memberships. That allows single parents, whose children may not be Y members, to have baby sitters available at no charge.
“I didn’t think it was fair to offer it just to families,’’ Bell-Pellegrino said. “For the demographic we serve, this should be open to single parents as well. Many of them have kids that are not old enough to be members. Now they don’t have to worry about who’s watching them. They can bring them in and take a class.”
The babysitters are students from College of Westchester. They have the same safety requirements as other Y employees, including background checks and fingerprints. They also engage with the kids, helping them with homework, playing interactive games and perhaps most importantly, keeping them away from television there isn’t even one in the Child Watch room.
The babysitting service is available from 5:30-9 p.m. on weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.
The Y does not turn people away based on financial need, and offers senior programs, group classes and a state-of-the-art facility with basketball, racquetball and handball courts, two pools, aquatic classes and a Free 12-week Personal Fitness Program.
For complete information about the White Plains Y, click here to visit its website.