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Honolulu Summer Fun child care program is looking for hundreds of helpers

Playground Pauoa Elementary School
Casey Harlow / HPR
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The City and County of Honolulu is hiring for its Summer Fun program once again — and they are looking for upwards of 500 workers.

Last summer, the city ramped up the program to accommodate more than 7,000 children in need of summer care — falling short of their 10,000-child capacity.

They said their biggest challenge was finding enough staff members to manage a program of that size.

"There just wasn't the staff to accommodate the workload," said Nathan Serota, spokesperson for the city's parks department.

"You hear about that in child care. You hear about that in the service industry, where a lot of these jobs are open. There's just not enough qualified people to fill them," he said.

The city plans to expand the Summer Fun program back to full capacity this year. That's why they are getting the word out earlier to find and hire enough staff members to accommodate as many children as possible.

"At this point, the more the merrier," Serota said. "The more people that we have within that pool of applicants, I think the more likely it is that we can have a more robust, larger successful program."

In an effort to promote the seasonal position, the parks department has a new online portal for college students looking to apply for the job. Those not in college should visit the website for more information.

Staff position salaries can pay up to $15.56 an hour.

High school students can also apply for volunteer junior leader positions.

"We're looking for, really, any qualified adults that can work for Summer Fun. I think one of the main qualifications is they need to have their First Aid certification valid," Serota said.

Serota told HPR if there aren't enough people for the summer positions, the program will have to put children on waitlists — or transfer them to another program site that may be more out of the way for families.

The city's 2023 Summer Fun program is scheduled to run from June 13 through July 28.

More information can be found at www.honolulu.gov/parks

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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