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Parents scramble as local after-school program prepares to close

Posted at 11:19 PM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-23 15:11:16-05

TAMPA, Fla. -- Parents are learning a community staple will soon close its doors.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay will be shutting down their teen center near Robinson High School in South Tampa. Working parents once called the teen center their saving grace.

"For an after-school program, it's been the best bargain in the world," said Avi Adler, a parent.

Adler and his wife, who both work long hours, can't pick up their daughter from school on time.

"Having the program here has been a real godsend because it's so close. It's walking distance and there's adult supervision," Adler said.

For years, teenagers spent their after-school hours at the Boys and Girls Club on West Mango Avenue.

Now, parents are scrambling for alternatives as the teen center closes January 1, 2020.

Angela Wong-McKinnes said the teen center kept her granddaughter from being home alone.

"She's with a group of friends, they're doing good things, they're not just running the streets, they're not getting into trouble," Wong-McKinnes said.

"Your kids either have to be latchkey kids or you've got to figure it out," said Heather Fermin, a parent. "A lot of us can't afford childcare afterwards so it's unfortunate."

The CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs Tampa Bay said they are working on how to utilize the building and better serve the community, as well as the parents in need.