With the closing of Eastern New Mexico University’s Kid’s College and the Portales Recreation Center’s all-day children’s program last year, Portales parents find themselves wondering where to send their children when school is out.
The City of Portales has had many discussions about what to do with the building, and if it does somehow reopen, there is no guarantee the same programs will be offered, according to city officials.
Melissa Donohue, a local parent, and ex dual enrollment coordinator for ENMU Kid’s College said that the Kid’s College closed due to lack of funds to pay counselors. The counselors were college students that were required to complete a course. The course cost around the amount of money the counselors earned for the entire summer. Also, there were not a large enough counselor-to-child ratio. Since the program took place on the ENMU campus, they did not want to be liable for the safety of the children.
Donohue, who has her child currently enrolled at the ENMU Child Development Center, said she was looking forward to her own child attending Kid’s College, but with it closed, she is not sure what she should do with her child after school and during the summer.
Hamid Allamehzadeh, a professor of engineering technology at ENMU, has two daughters who were affected by the Kid’s College shut down. He said the reasoning he received was “the kids did not have enough supervision, which was a safety issue for the university, causing the program to shut down.”
Allamehzadeh said both of his daughters were very upset, and his oldest daughter was enrolled in the program at the time. His younger daughter had been looking forward to also joining the program when she was old enough.
Allamehzadeh said he spoke with a few individuals who work with city council members, and they informed him that a meeting was held regarding the closing of the rec center. Even with concerned parents’ suggestions, they still concluded that the best decision was to close the center.
“These kids need a place to go to be active during the summer time,” said Allamehzadeh.
Allamehzadeh said he still works over the summer, and he has no confirmed plans for his two daughters over the summer. Allamehzadeh said that he does not mind the drive to Clovis, but he does believe that defeats the purpose of living across the street from the university, which is his place of work.
He said he also knows many other professors who are parents who are also not sure what to do about summer care.
For parents with no day care or babysitter options, United Way of Eastern New Mexico’s Summer Activity Guide has been released and can be found at the following locations in Clovis and Portales:
The guide provides a list of all local summer camps and other children’s activities available in the summer months, such as Clovis Community College classes for children, including a variety of arts and crafts classes, athletic and weight training classes, and outdoor activity classes. The guide lists sports camps, vacation Bible schools, and many other programs, such as a new theatre camp at Eastern New Mexico University.
Along with the guide being found at local school districts, it can also be found at the following sites:
Clovis mall kiosk
Portales Community Services Center
Portales rec center
Do Drop In
Clovis City Hall
Portales City Hall
C&S in Portales
Portales Municipal Schools Administration
Java Loft in Clovis
Matt 25 in Clovis
Presbyterian Regional Medical Center
Roosevelt General Hospital