The Santa Maria Valley YMCA and the Santa Maria Bonita School District (SMBSD) have partnered to provide free emergency safe CDC-compliant child care for frontline health care workers.

In response to the urgent need to provide safe CDC-compliant childcare for critical health care providers, the YMCA, SMBSD and the newly established Emergency
Child Care Fund (ECCF) have partnered to provide care to the Hospital and Community Health Care front-line staff at no charge.

Children ages 5-12 can received licensed care provided by the YMCA staff at Rice Elementary, with a cohesive, staged plan to expand as needed.

“This current health crisis requires the full engagement of our most essential workforce” said Shannon Seifert, CEO of the Santa Maria Valley YMCA. “It is our social responsibility to ensure that our front-line responders have a healthy and safe environment for their own children while they are taking care of all of us and our families.”

Mark Muller and Rob Bergen with the SMBSD have provided the space for safe care with six-foot distancing, eight children per class size limitations, and CDC-trained facilities maintenance and operations staff for constant and thorough sanitizing.

Additionally, all students will be provided with a free breakfast and lunch as well as Chrome book laptops for homework and curriculum to fill the gaps that may be happening now with the challenges of remote learning. All child care staff are trained specifically to CDC safety standards and procedures.

For more information, contact Kelsey Apkarian at

Emergency Child Care Fund is a consortium of funders, including the Audacious Foundation, Natalie Orfalea Foundation and Lou Buglioli. To join this group of funders, contact Steve Ortiz, president/CEO of United Way of Santa Barbara County, at

If you are an employer of essential workers or a child-care provider who wants to help, contact Eileen Monahan at