Beyond School Bells CARES: Funding is Now Available for School-Age Childcare Providers

On October 1, Beyond School Bells (BSB), Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s dedicated network of afterschool professionals, opened a new web portal that will accept CARES Act applications from licensed school-age and school-based providers who have been impacted by the pandemic.  

You’re probably well familiar with the pandemic’s financial impacts on childcare providers and programs. If you’re a school-aged provider, then you’ve likely felt the impacts, and BSB can help. What you do is key for children and families to thrive, so we need you, our school-aged providers, to thrive, too. BSB is proud to announce its CARES Act funding, which is part of a larger series of supports that Nebraska Children is overseeing on behalf of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Series (NEDHHS).  

Beyond School Bells’ work builds on Nebraska Children’s ongoing efforts to support our childcare providers. As an organization that’s committed to our providers, who deliver an essential service for essential workers’ children, we’re delighted that BSB is launching this equally essential funding source.  

If you’re a licensed school-age or school-based provider, visit this link to see whether you’re eligible. From there, if you are, you’ll have access to a one-time $5,500 Stabilization or $3,000 Incentive to Reopen grant.  

The funds will become accessible to you after we confirm your eligibility, and we approve your required materials. You can apply for this grant through the portal through the month of January 2021. 

We here at Nebraska Children and Beyond School Bells are excited to partner, again, for an equally important cause, with NEDHHS. We look forward to the power of collaboration, which will support essential programs for Nebraska’s children and youth to thrive and turn the hours of risk into hours of opportunity.  

The CARES Act funding is a one-time incentive that will help us help you continue to enhance the presence of your statewide quality, sustainable afterschool and summer programs that serve and care for our families and their youth.  

Thanks to the help of our growing network of afterschool and summer programs in Nebraska, BSB and their partners have been rapidly supporting and growing our next generations of STEM professionals through a series of critical-thinking activities, along with this new CARES Act support. 

BSB’s Network Lead Jeff Cole stresses the importance of supporting afterschool programs and the people who are responsible for them.  

“Now more than ever, Nebraskans understand the important role that afterschool learning and care programs play in the lives of our state’s children and families. Due to COVID-related disruptions, on-line learning and school shutdowns, youth have had less time to focus on learning, and working parents have had the unenviable task of balancing full-time work lives with what seems like full-time teaching roles, he said.  

Jeff said that high-quality afterschool, weekend, and summer learning and care programs help reduce this burden and help kids with learning opportunities they need to thrive.  

“This [grant] will provide school-age care providers with some of the support needed to address COVID-related challenges – and help get more programs up and running so more Nebraska children and families have access to these necessary activities,” he said.  

Jeff also said “This [funding] will also create opportunities for communities to build additional capacity to serve more children and families and to expand opportunities to provide engaging, stimulating activities for more youth.”  

One of afterschool and summer programs’ essential learning experiences include STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics). With millions of future projected job openings, STEM is a field that’s essential.  

But that’s not all. Afterschool programs also create a safe, fun space for these activities to take place. The times when children are left unattended from 3-6 pm are the same times when they’re most likely to get in trouble. These programs also give working parents peace of mind knowing their children are in a safe and educational space. 

Thanks to BSB and their partners, “rural deserts,” or Nebraskan communities that didn’t previously have an afterschool program, can now partake in a larger, expanded series of programs designed to give hands-on career exploration to our children and youth. The CARES Act Funding can ensure that these programs and STEM are here to stay! 

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Nebraska Children and Families Foundation supports children, young adults and families at risk with the overall goal of giving our state's most vulnerable kids what they need to reach their full potential. We do this by building strong communities that support families so their children can grow up to be thriving, productive adults.

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Posted in Middle Childhood, News and Events

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