IMMOKALEE — RCMA, Florida’s largest non-profit provider of early childhood education with a presence in 21 counties, is working to keep operating its child development centers in areas where families need them.
“We primarily serve migrant families, and this is the height of the agricultural season. Our parents depend on this work to sustain their families. They are picking fruits and vegetables that are ripe throughout Florida,” explains Isabel Garcia, executive director. “We were founded 55 years ago to provide a safe place for the children of migrant families while their parents worked, and we continue that commitment today. Our parents need to work, the crops need to be harvested, and the consumer needs this food for their table.
“In addition,” Garcia continued, “we provide breakfast, lunch and snacks to the children in our care. So, it is important that we remain open and provide this nutritional service.”
RCMA receives funding from federal and state sources, and works in conjunction with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Department of Education/Office of Early Learning (DOE/OEL). Therefore, RCMA is following instructions provided by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to the coronavirus.
All year, RCMA staff follow strict cleaning protocols at its child development centers, and staff remain vigilant while implementing these practices and taking added precautionary measures during the current health situation facing the world.
RCMA has a strong relationship with suppliers, and whenever possible, staff are sharing cleaning supplies with RCMA parents to keep families safe at home.
Because some families are opting to implement social distancing, RCMA is allowing families to not pay any fees while their children stay at home.
A non-profit organization, RCMA is expending more money on cleaning supplies and staff at a time of reduced income. Financial contributions are being accepted at rcma.org. Anyone with cleaning supplies, diapers or non-perishable food they would like to donate can visit rcma.org and find the RCMA child development center closest to them.
RMCA partners in the South Central Florida area include Harlem Academy in Clewiston, Glades Early Childhood Center in Moore Haven, West Child Development Center and LaBelle Childhood Development Center in LaBelle and RMCA in Belle Glade Center.