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NY Mills sees sign of growth

The New York Mills School Age Childcare (SACC) program is helping 10 more families this year.

Daycare provider Irene Sandback said she takes this as a sign of economic growth, as people are finding jobs and seeking daycare.

Sandback gave a yearly report to the school board at Monday night's regular meeting. She said she continues to offer a safe place before and after school for children enrolled in junior kindergarten through sixth grade. A Monday through Thursday summer program is also offered.

In the last year, 97 families have used SACC, with a total of 143 children. There were 31 full-time families, 10 part-time families, and 50 families that dropped in as needed. On average, SACC has 15 kids in the morning and 25-30 in the afternoon.

Most mornings, Sandback can be found playing dodgeball and kickball with the kids.

"I love the mornings because I can play," she said.

Sandback keeps kids busy with coordinated activities in available gyms, or enjoying the playground when the weather is nice. The kids also, on occasion, use the computer labs.

In the summer program, 90 percent of the day is spent outside, Sandback said. She takes the kids to their chosen summer recreation program activities. She also helps take kids to their swimming lessons in the morning, and the whole group enjoys the pool in the afternoons. If the weather cooperates, the group walks to area parks and the library.

The SACC program costs $2.10 per hour per child.

With more than 12 years experience, Sandback can handle a crowd of kids. She hardly ever has behavior problems since she is known for following through with her warnings. She started making the kids write essays as they sat in timeouts to make the punishment a little tougher - writing an essay once or twice is usually all it takes, she said.

Sandback doesn't do the job by herself, though. Bev Witt and three high school students - Emily Blomberg, Terry Lillis and Cody Preuss - all help out regularly.

"Without these people I could not do this program," Sandback said.

"I have a good bunch of kids and awesome help," Sandback said. "And I love my job."