The new Scarborough Community Center space allows for the return of old programs and the addition of new ones. Courtesy photo

SCARBOROUGH — Due to the pandemic, people faced numerous challenges like working from home and attending school remotely in 2020 and even into this year. When schools were reopened in fall 2020, many children were only going to in-person classes part-time, and the Scarborough Community Center received a number of phone calls from working parents that were looking for childcare. Faced with a large challenge, the community center decided the only way they would be able to accommodate the childcare needs would be to expand the center. The center would need more staff and more space due to childcare changing due to COVID indoor restrictions and the need for all-day childcare options. The community center could not solve the issue without some help.

Thanks to a donation from The Downs developers, and help from the town, a new space was created to help families as well as provide an opportunity for new programming.

Since most children had hybrid schooling during the 2020-2021 school year — being in school some days and out of the classroom, and learning remotely, on other days — some parents needed care for their children during those off days. A new facility was needed to provide a place where children could go on their days off. In September 2020, the new Payne Road Community Center opened its doors to offer childcare to the children of 70 families. The new space allowed children to have a space to learn and play in a structured environment while parents returned to work.

“The Downs stepped up and pledged financial support of up to $90,000, which gave the Town Council the confidence to embark on this endeavor. In the end their financial support totaled just over $48,000,” Community Center Director Todd Souza said. “This team raised their hand right when we needed it – without this support, we would not have been able to meet the community’s immediate need.”

In addition, now that children have returned to the classroom full-time, the facility has the space for the return of older programs like the holiday gingerbread making event, pumpkin carving at Halloween, and the Mad Science after school program.

There is also space for new programs such as a new preschool program and more to come in the new year.

The senior program is also back up and running, with the return of game days and senior lunches, and new events will be added starting in 2022. The previous location for the senior programs was at Martins Point but, due to space and safety issues, all senior programs were put on hold until the newer location allowed for their return.

“The mission of Scarborough Community Services is to provide quality of life by meeting its needs through recreational opportunities,” Souza said. “And as we know, the true power of community comes from supporting one another when it is needed.  On behalf of the Town of Scarborough and the many families positively affected by your community-mindedness, thank you to the Risbara and Michaud families who raised their hands when Scarborough needed assistance.”

To check out programs or events at the community center, go to the town of Scarborough community website, 

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