Extra money helps popular summer program include more kids


One of the city’s summer kids programs is so popular you have to enter a lottery to get in, but this year the city dished out some cash to extend the program and help include more children.

North Domingo Baca and Manzano Mesa are the city’s two multigenerational centers in Albuquerque. They both fall under the Department of Senior Affairs and it just so happens both have summer recreation programs for children. “It’s awesome we have eight weeks of spectacular fun,” Angel Montoya said.

Montoya is the center manager at North Domingo Baca. She said before it became an eight-week program, for years, it’s always been six weeks. “Unfortunately up to now we hadn’t been able to,” said Baca.

That’s not the case this summer. “Now that we got this 80,000 dollars, we definitely can,” said Baca. 

The bump in budget allowed the two centers to extend their summer program by two weeks. “Our main concern that we’re always hearing is why aren’t you guys open longer?” Montoya said.

Now, the two summer programs match the other summer programs that are part of the city’s Family and Community Services Department.  With the extra cash Montoya said they’ll be able to open a fall and spring break program for kids. They also plan to expand their after-school enrollment from 60 to 100 children.

But for now, they’re focusing on the summer camp that is set to begin in a week. “This year we are still taking a 120 for our summer program,” Montoya said. 

Most city summer programs use a “lottery style” selection process just to keep it fair for families. Meaning dozens of kids end up on the waiting list. Right now North Domingo Baca has nearly 200 students hoping some spaces open up. “We’re hoping in the future to go from 120 to maybe 150, 175 children at each center, she said. 

The summer programs that fall under the Family and Community Services Department still have room for another 4,600 children.

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