A couple created an online babysitting club that’s giving out-of-work Broadway performers a new spotlight and some extra cash

Andrea Dotto of the Dusty & Dott Show

New York City couple Kyle Reilly and Kristina Hanford are connecting talented out-of-work performers with parents who need help keeping kids occupied.
Professional performers often rely on side jobs as nannies, babysitters, or waiters/waitresses in restaurants. When the coronavirus struck, it took out both their primary and secondary income sources. The Virtual Babysitters Club gives these professionals a new source of income.
Reilly and Hanford have onboarded 75 performers and are reviewing 500 applications to expand their offerings.
Hanford told Business Insider that she had always wanted to help performers find meaningful side jobs and the coronavirus pandemic provided the opportunity to strategize how to do that.
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Professional performer Kristina Hanford traveled the world as Elsa in the Disney Cruise Lines “Frozen.” When the singer, actor, and dancer wasn’t performing off-Broadway or at regional theaters, she nannied for a local family.

When New York City became the United States’ epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, it curtailed all of Hanford’s work. Hanford — like most performers — relies on jobs in the service industry like nannying, babysitting, and waitressing. With mandated shutdowns and social distancing mandates, all of that income evaporated.

For Hanford it was about more than the money. She missed the family she worked for and stayed connected through FaceTime. A two-hour virtual visit sparked an idea for Hanford’s partner, entrepreneur Kyle Reilly.

“Kristina was having so much fun Facetiming with the young boy she used to nanny for. And she was helping the parents through the crisis. I said to her, ‘Why not start a virtual babysitters club?'” Reilly said. “She thought it was a great idea, and we knew there was no one better suited to handle the job than performers.”

The couple began screening performers and connecting them with families in early March 2020. On March 31, the Virtual Babysitters Club LLC was officially formed, and the website launched on April 7. The virtual service offers creative entertainment options for families balancing working from home and keeping their children engaged.

One-on-one sessions are $30 an hour. Private group sessions are $90 for at least five participants. Public group sessions are $18.00 per child, and offer kids a chance to make new friends. Sessions are led by talented performers with diverse backgrounds from musical theater to television show hosts, singers, puppeteers, and more. All performers go through a rigorous background check before approval.

Activities range from dance activities to music where kids participate in games, activities, and sing-a-longs. Art sessions captivate kids’ attention through drawing and creating and games test their knowledge in interactive fun ways. Breakout Adventures immerse participants in their own adventure and work with friends to solve puzzles and strategy games, save the world and become a master spy.

After a session is booked, an automatic/random and unique zoom link is created specific to that session. It is sent via email to the parent(s)’ email address along with any instructions for needed supplies. The notice includes the ability to …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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