PAMPA, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — In its 18 years in Pampa, “Create a Beat,” located inside Hiland Christian Church, has been through a lot.
“We’ve gone through an economic crisis. A couple of years ago the church got hit by lightning and burned and we went through a fire,” said Create a Beat Executive Director Julie Long.
The pandemic has just been too much.
“We’ve tried really hard and we’ve tried to work all the numbers. Everything is just so uncertain and we just felt like we couldn’t hang on for any longer,” said Long.
Since it’s creation, Create a Beat, which focuses on arts and education, has expanded from an after-school program for elementary-aged kids to offering several camps throughout the year.
Long said things started going bad during spring break when regulations required that they were only allowed to accept children from essential workers, which hurt their numbers significantly.
Yet, they still had an optimistic attitude.
“We thought, we can handle this, we can do this for a couple of weeks and then obviously it’s gone on more than a couple of weeks. So we’ve been running on a deficit since March and, at some point, you have to say, ‘we can’t keep doing this,'” said Long.
Long told us she has had multiple generations of families attend and even work as caregivers in the program, which made her decision even tougher.
“It’s been my life for the last 18 years and we’ve had thousands of kids come through these doors and it’s really hard knowing that that’s not going to happen anymore,” said Long.
As for what is next for the families that rely on Create a Beat, Long said there are a couple of other after-school programs that are available in Pampa. Those include the First Baptist Church Child Development Center and Latch Key.
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