New program aims to help kids, from a range of developmental levels, with their school work this year

Erie County

A new program called Packets without Parents gives kids a distraction free place to get their school work packets done, and the best part is, it’s open to all kids across Western New York.

“Our parents are suffering. Trying to get, not only their work done during the day, and normal housework, but then to attend to children’s learning,” said Mary O’Mara.

Mary O’Mara she and her sister, Jackie Nelson both retired teachers.

They teamed up with the founder of Fantastic Friends of WNY, which is a socialization program for students with developmental needs, to come up with a solution for parents who have kids in hybrid learning programs.

“So, as two certified teachers, we’re going to take on the packets to help relieve the parents,” said O’Mara.

The packets without friends program is a study program. Parents can drop their kids off to get help with completing their study packets or any other work they have for school, and then, they can socialize and take part in the Fantastic Friends programming.

“This is a place where you’ll be able to send your children to get those packets done, not only will the packets be done, but if your child is struggling with a concept that’s contained in a packet, we have two certified teachers who will be teaching the material and the curriculum in the packet,” said O’Mara.

The program is open to kids of all ages and from any school district in Western New York. The program is also reaching out to special needs students.

“I’m looking at things in the special needs community, these children are regressing terribly. Many have not had any form of education or therapy since this covid started in March, because many of them can’t learn virtually. It’s very difficult,” said Debbie Cordone Founder of Fantastic Friends of Western New York.

The program’s organizers hope they’ll have a broad reaching impact on area children.

“So we know they’re suffering, we know they’re suffering socially, but we know the typical children and suffering as well and their families’ parents need to go to work, kids need to get out. You can do it safely and that’s what we intend to do,” said Cordone.

The program is set to start September 21st and the cost is $75 dollars a day. For more information visit

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