Kids at the Revelstoke After School Society. (Contributed by Joanne Gawler)

Kids at the Revelstoke After School Society. (Contributed by Joanne Gawler)

Revelstoke After School Society growing to meet demand

RAS will host a garage sale and bike wash fundraiser on May 7

The Revelstoke After School Society (RAS) will host a garage sale and bike wash fundraiser on May 7 to support new outdoor education programming equipment with help from local businesses.

The society was launched in 2020 by a group of women hoping to provide reliable, consistent and affordable childcare that supports parents getting back into the workforce.

RAS started with 24 spots at one licensed location in 2020, and this fall is expanding to host 68 children a day.

The children spend most of their time with the society outdoors, however, provincial legislation requires that an indoor space be available, even if it goes unused, thus setting the capacity for the programs.

The garage sale and bike wash fundraiser were made possible through support from Skookum, Pop-Cycle, The Modern, Forage and Fill, Revy Outdoors, Arrow Head Fishing Adventures, Red Cedar, Revelstoke Snowshoe Company, and the United Church.

“So many people in the community benefit from this program,” said Joanne Gawler, executive director and co-founder of RAS in a news release. “Our program has also added to employment in the child care field, in September 2020 we had five contracted staff, and in September 2021, we had 16 paid employees.”

In May 2021, demand was so overwhelming Gawler began the search for a second, licensed location. “We are coming to the end of our second year of operations in June, RAS is now playing outdoors with 44 students a day (60 families) which works out to helping 120 adults work,” Gawler said.

“In addition to parents, the program also helps older siblings access extracurricular activities by taking the burden of child care off themselves.”

The program costs $25 a day, per child, which includes pick up from school and supervised transportation to the program’s activity location, healthy snacks, outdoor programming and a 1:6 facilitator ratio.

As a not-for-profit, RAS applied for support from the Columbia Basin Trust and has been able to help six families access care at a subsidized cost in 2021-22.

RAS has further plans for expansion and is working with the Revelstoke School District 19 and its parent advisory councils.

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