HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – Brenda Woods is a busy mom of two young boys who juggles a lot. Bringing her kids to the Greenbrier YMCA in Chesapeake gives her a much-needed break, especially recently when she had to get her COVID-19 shot.
“It's just a relief that I don't have to tug them along,” Woods said. “Having two kids and having to tug them along, it's just not something I had to worry about.”
YMCA of South Hampton Roads is making it easier for parents and caregivers to roll up their sleeves for the vaccine. All 21 locations are offering free drop-in childcare through June 30.
Chief Strategy Officer for the YMCA of South Hampton Roads Dean Mattix said the initiative helps to provide equitable solutions for those looking to get a COVID shot.
“From my experience being a parent, it’s just hard,” Mattix said. “It’s hard to get the kids in the car and to where you’re going… You just want to get vaccinated to protect your family and loved ones, so we’re just trying to bridge that gap and remove that barrier.”
Southside Boys & Girls Club in Norfolk is also helping to boost the vaccination rate.
“We think it’s very important to be vaccinated so our children can have a safe place and our adults to come to,” said Southside Boys & Girls Club CEO Gregg Shivers. “What we’re doing to try to make that happen is [that] we’re offering free membership drawings for one full year of free membership. We’re offering free transportation to and from school, and we’re also throwing in free field trips, so get your shot and come on out to the Southside Boys and Girls Club, where great futures start here.”
The initiatives are all part of President Biden’s National Month of Action to vaccinate 70% of U.S. adults with at least one shot by Independence Day. In Virginia, 69.5% of adults have received their first dose.
“We all have to do our part,” Mattix said. “You look at the initiatives across the community and I don’t think it’s one single initiative; I think it’s all the communities coming together through various programs that support the vaccination and encourage it. That’s going to get us to that goal.”
Woods, in the meantime, is grateful for the Y’s support during her COVID appointment, allowing her to add an extra layer of protection for her family.
“They're not old enough to get vaccinated, so I'd rather them be at a place that is safe and not have to bring them with me,” said Woods. “It's just been a stress reliever.”
You don’t have to be a YMCA member to receive the free childcare. Drop-off appointments are encouraged, and there is a two-hour window for pick up.
For more vaccine incentives, click here.