provided to The Santiva Chronicle
FISH of SANCAP is working with households to secure plans for keeping their children safe and active this summer. The organization is offering scholarships for various youth summer camps throughout Lee County for families which cannot afford the rising cost of summer childcare and camps.
“Many households struggle to find balance between work and childcare particularly during the summer months,” said FISH Social Services Director Nitza Lopez. “Some facilities and camps, which closed in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, have not re-opened, while others are open with less staff, meaning fewer children can attend.”
Lopez said the summer months for island employees can often bring about a reduction in hours at work and with rising costs, it’s becoming difficult to afford childcare. FISH staff understands the challenges of finding appropriate programs and covering the costs of summer childcare.
That is why the organization continues to provide financial assistance through its Summer Youth Scholarship Program, which is supported by private donors and grant funding from the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Foundation. Last year, FISH helped with a portion of camp costs for Patti’s three boys.
Patti is a program participant and island worker. “We still haven’t caught up with expenses from the incredible loss of income we experienced throughout the height of the COVID crisis,” she said, “and through some other unexpected medical costs.” Patti said she is “grateful FISH can help us again this year, as it will keep the boys active and engaged while giving us the opportunity to pick up more hours.”
Scholarships are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The FISH Social Services Department determines eligibility for need-based financial assistance through a review of a family’s income and expense documentation. Scholarship amounts vary depending upon the length and cost of the program and the family’s financial status.
Available funding is limited, and scholarships may cover only a portion of the cost. To learn more and to determine eligibility, contact Lopez at 239-472-4775.