The trail grew cold for many South Dakota parents searching for day care options in the bitter wind chills on Thursday. Most child care facilities joined other businesses and school districts by closing their doors for the day. But one day care in Sioux Falls did open, much to the relief of worried parents.
Youth Enrichment Services is veering away from its policy of closing whenever the Sioux Falls School District shuts down because of the weather. Instead, YES kept its Eastside Learning Center open on Thursday because keeping kids at home is not an option for many working parents.
Kids at Youth Enrichment Services were nestled under warm blankets napping soundly. They could rest easy on this cold day because their parents found a day care option what wasn't frozen-out by the weather.
"I was a little concerned when they were calling saying that a lot of the day cares were closing because my son actually goes to another location. He doesn't go to this particular one, his location was closed, so it was nice another one was open to bring him to," Sioux Falls mom Candace Wallace said.
YES consolidated its child care services into this one location for the day, in an emergency move to help parents scrambling at the last-minute.
"This is our facility that really serves birth through 18 and so we had the greatest flexibility with this center," Karen Fogas of Youth Enrichment Services said.
Youth Enrichment Services had to play it by ear. They weren't sure how many kids would be showing up on Thursday and they wanted to make sure they had enough staff on hand for the children who did show up.
"We were inventorying who could and who couldn't and saying if you live out of town, we don't even want you to try. But for those of you who live in town, if you can work, we would love to take you and so trying to match those things and doing that under some pressure quickly, is kind of challenging, but we made it," Fogas.
The emergency response by the day care workers showed how YES really stepped up for the kids who needed their help.
"It's amazing. When those situations happen, people really rise to the occasion, and our staff did," Fogas said.
Next door to Youth Enrichment Services, the staff at the Boys and Girls Club called some 200 families to tell them the club would not be open for the day. Getting the word out was very important because most of the kids who attend the club walk there.