The Armed Services YMCA has announced the launch of the Children’s Waiting Room program at its Copperas Cove location for active-duty military families.

Soldiers as well as their family members are eligible for two hours of free child care during medical appointments.

“The program starts on Sept. 10,” said Dana Finlay, executive assistant to the director of the Armed Services YMCA. “The families don’t need to be a member of the YMCA but have to make an appointment by phone.”

Interested families can already sign up their children for their scheduled doctor’s appointments at 254-458-1015. Children between 6 months and 8 years of age can visit the Children’s Waiting Room.

The program is designed to improve the overall health of active-duty families by making it easier and less stressful to attend appointments without bringing small children.

The Children’s Waiting Room will be inside the child care room of the Armed Services YMCA Family Center at 501 Clara Drive in Copperas Cove.

“It is already an existing room but we are currently renovating it and adding a few additional toys,” said Finlay.

With the new program, the Armed Services YMCA wants to fulfill a goal of showing continual support to military families as well as promoting youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

“The child care is similar to our child care at the (Harker Heights) wellness center,” Finlay said. “Our hopes are to have at least 15 children a day but we can certainly have more than that.”

The Children’s Waiting Room operates from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.

The Copperas Cove Armed Services YMCA will remain open for individual workouts and group fitness classes.

“Sadly, it is an unused facility,” Finlay said. “Hopefully, with the Children’s Waiting Room attached, people will start using the facility more.”

Organizers are planning even more children’s programs for the Armed Services YMCA Family Center in Cove.

“We will also have little learners there, which is a mommy and me program,” Finlay said. “We are hoping to implement this program some time in October.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the Children’s Waiting Room is scheduled for Sept. 15.

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