'They're going to end up learning nothing'


POSTED: Saturday, October 24, 2009

Enrollment for Furlough Friday programs at YMCA's Leeward Branch in Waipahu doubled over 24 hours as parents made last-minute arrangements.

Between Thursday night and yesterday, enrollment at YMCA's Leeward branch at the old Waipahu Sugar Mill increased to 88 children from 44.

Some children said yesterday they prefer to be at the YMCA than in class. “;It's feels like a three-day weekend,”; said 9-year-old Garrett Smeltzer, of Kapolei Elementary School.

YMCA branches throughout Oahu experienced a surge in Furlough Friday enrollment yesterday to 297 children from 225.

Parent Melba Badua made two trips yesterday morning, first at the YMCA to drop off her 7-year-old daughter, Reni James, and second to her mother's house in Waipahu to drop off her other daughter, Rozzelle Badua, 6. Badua said she enrolled only one of her daughters at the YMCA because of the cost. It also helps so her mother has to care for one child, rather than two. The fee is $36 per day per child. Both daughters attend Mauka Lani Elementary School in Kapolei.

;[Preview]  Local kids pack beaches, parks, malls on first Furlough Friday

Local students take the time to relax and enjoy what will be the first of many long weekends.

Watch ]


Badua, a floor associate at Wal-Mart in Kunia, hoped to take care of her children but could not get the day off. Badua is against furlough days, saying they will have a detrimental effect on students. “;I wish they didn't implement the furloughs,”; she said. “;They're going to end up learning nothing.”;

At least one public school is being utilized as a child care site thanks to the Liholiho Laulima Parent Teacher Association. The group got the necessary documents that include liability insurance and certification from the Department of Labor to operate a child care program at Liholiho Elementary School. “;It's almost like starting a business, but we had three weeks to do it,”; said association President Lylah Reid-Akana. Fifty-four children K-5 are registered in the program.

The program, which has a fee of $24 per furlough day, is only offered to Liholiho Elementary students.

Student Services Coordinator Jodi Yoshimura, director of the child care program, said they offer activities that include arts and crafts, technology and math and literacy skills. “;Things are going very well,”; said Yoshimura.

Two classrooms at Liholiho Elementary were used to house the children. In one of the classrooms, several children played with clay.

In downtown Honolulu, Central Pacific Bank transformed a vacant conference room into a child care center for children ages 5 to 13 that included 11 flat-screen computers, a television and games. A second room is designated as a nap room for younger children.

The bank partnered with Kamaaina Kids to hire staff to help care for employees' children at the site.

When asked what she missed most about school, 8-year-old Kaitlin Ng of Mililani Ike School said, “;Learning.”;