VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Department has seen an uptick of applications for jobs in before- and after-school programs.
In mid-November, the department announced 14 programs would be cut due to a staffing shortage effective January 3. Since the announcement, the department has raised wages and has gotten about 120 applications, according to Public Relations Manager Julie Braley.
"We're hoping we can get some additional folks hired, and if we can get that process to continue moving along, hopefully we can begin to start bringing some of the stuff back," said Braley.
The department is hoping better pay will lead to more hires. For aides, the pay is increasing from $9.50 an hour to $15.
While applications have increased, there's currently no timetable on restarting programs. The department says about 50 people need to be hired to reopen all programs.
"I'm hopeful we're moving in a positive direction and we can get the right people in those roles," said Braley.
While all of this is sorted out, parents are left to figure out alternatives for care.
Savior Martial Arts is an example of a program offering after school activities for students, including at two schools that are losing their after-school programs.
"We're here to help. We have space," said Headmaster Scott Gilbert.
For $120 a week, the program offers transportation to the martial arts studio, homework help, a snack and a martial arts class.
"I am wide open for about 10 more students and could probably take a few more," Gilbert said.
Gilbert rearranged thing to include students from Kempsville Elementary, one of the schools losing the after-school program.
"We moved things around because we got a phone call from a mom who was very concerned and really needs help, so we moved places around so we can serve Kempsville," he said.