Arlington County’s Department of Parks and Recreation has released a video encouraging families to sign up children for activities, even if they are going through financial hardship.
“Don’t let fees be a barrier to signing up your child,” the video’s narrator says. “Arlington wants to ensure that every child has an opportunity to learn, grow and have fun all year round.”
The parks department offers families 50 percent off all parks and recreation programs if qualified for reduced-price lunches at Arlington Public Schools. If the family qualifies for free lunches in schools, it only has to pay 25 percent of the full fee to participate, according to Parks and Rec spokeswoman Susan Kalish.
“Individuals and families without children may also qualify for fee reductions or a temporary hardship fee reduction based on a variety of other documents (such as completed income taxes or proof of benefits such as WIC or SNAP),” Kalish said in an email. “Fee reduction level is based on household size and the total net income.”
Temporary hardships include a loss of a job or divorce, Kalish said, and residents hoping to apply for a reduced fee also need to provide proof. To apply, a resident can visit any community center with a photo ID and fill out the required forms. The county’s website provides a list of acceptable documents individuals and families can use to prove they qualify for reduced fees.
The program, which has been going on for “a number of years,” currently serves about 1,500 residents with reduced fees, Kalish said.