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How a youth program saved summer with an affordable childcare option

As students return to class, a popular summer youth program has closed for the season.

The Pahrump Valley Youth Activities Program began in 2011 as a way to keep students engaged during summer break.

PVYA’S chief co-founder Tom Metscher said the program, now in its 12th year, has gained popularity among parents and kids during that time.

Plenty of stuff to do

The program was originally held at J.G. Johnson Elementary School, but has moved to the campus of Mt. Charleston Elementary School. Throughout the day the kids are grouped by ages, fed breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack.

Between 80-85 kids a day participated in this summer’s programs, said Metscher, which included reading, physical activities and a media and video game room.

Affordable child care

The cost of the program was $150 for seven weeks, which Metscher said is a bargain, considering all of the educational and recreational activities for the kids.

It’s also considerably more affordable than the $284 on average that parents spend per week on childcare when their students are not in school, according to a 2023 Cost of Care study conducted by care.com.

“It’s been a blessing for many families because we didn’t have a big waiting list this year. We didn’t have to turn down a whole bunch of people, so it all worked out. NyE Communities Coalition has been a great partner and we have some other private donors as well. Partnerships is what makes it work, especially all of the volunteers and the new director, Christian Apolinar.”

Metscher gave thanks to late Pahrump businessman Tom Saitta, who routinely supported the program from the beginning. Saitta, who passed away in 2021, was the owner of Pahrump’s Saitta Trudeau car dealership.

“Tom did a lot for the program over the years and as a matter of fact, his wife Alice just gave us another nice donation the other day,” Metscher said. “She’s so happy to stay involved, to carry on Tom’s tradition of giving and supporting the program in her husband’s absence, which is fantastic. We’re certainly blessed to still have the Saitta family as part of our support team.”

To learn more about the program, logon to pvya.net or their Facebook page.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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