Congresswoman Nita Lowey Announces Children’s Center Grant
Congresswoman Nita Lowey held a June 11, 2018 press conference at the college’s Virginia Marx Children’s Center to announce multiyear funding of a grant for student parents. This $800,000 grant (about $211,000 per year for four years) will allow the college to provide subsidies for qualified, low income, Pell eligible student parents; assist the college in recruiting to enable more students to take advantage of the college’s childcare services; and provide student parents with additional support to help them achieve success as students and as parents.
35 families will receive annual stipends through the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant. The college will develop a sliding scale based upon student need and the number of credits taken by student parents. The student parents may receive as much as $5,754 annually.
The event, attended by News 12 and FIOS-1, included comments from three student parents who told their own personal stories:
Kristen Hopper and her twins Julia and Robert. Kristen has four children; her older children are now ten and fifteen. The twins were born later. She faced some difficulties in balancing not only her school commitments and her child rearing duties, but also a commute. She traveled by bus with her twins through rain, snow, etc. But she persevered and wants to let others know that they can do so, too! She says she changed her life around thanks to the college and the Children’s Center. Julia and Robert are both three and they are thriving, as is Kristen. Kristen just graduated in May (Criminal Justice/Police) and is moving on to further study at Berkeley College. She is hoping for a career in law, perhaps starting as a legal secretary and then moving on to become a lawyer.
Merly Fonseca and Zoe (her child). Merly studies Radiologic Technology at the college. Merly started at Norwalk Community College, earned an associate’s degree there, and then transferred here. She received scholarship money, and financial aid, and both have helped her pursue her studies. As a realtor, a mother, and a student, she’s got a lot going on. The whole reason that she can work is because of the Children’s Center; if it was not for that, she would not be able to do all that she is doing.
Tina Jones’ daughter is Kayla and she is four years old. Tina had her daughter in childcare at another facility and she was considering a change. She heard a lot about our facility so she switched over and has been thankful for all the services offered here. When she came to the college with her boyfriend, the child’s father, they decided to attend the college as a group! Kayla, who is leaving the Center for kindergarten, did very well at the Center. Tina is taking Liberal Arts and is considering transferring over the Radiologic Technology Program. Her boyfriend, registered for Liberal Arts classes. They both made the Dean’s List and are continuing their studies here – he’s taking summer classes and she’s coming back for more classes in the fall.
At the event, President Belinda S. Miles thanked the Congresswoman for her support. “It is a special treasure to be able to support our students and their young children at the same time. This is a unique place where our students come to achieve their academic and career goals while their children take part in an accredited curriculum supporting early childhood development, a distinction among child care centers. We are especially grateful for Congresswoman Lowey’s strong advocacy on behalf of Westchester Community College students and the award-winning Virginia Marx Children’s Center,” said Dr. Miles.
Children’s Center Director Susan Zucker gave an overview of the Center at the event.
Nearly ¾ of a million residents of Hudson Valley, many whom are in Westchester, have earned college credits but have not received degrees. Many of these individuals seek to earn more college credits, or a degree, while also caring for their families. Due to economic pressures, they are unable to consider college, which would allow them to move on to careers or further education. If they had the means to afford that education, they would be better able to provide for their families. The college has found that higher education benefits not just individuals, but entire families, since it can help students move on to better paying employment, new careers, etc.
This is an important grant because it supports the overall concept of providing childcare services for students with children. This is especially relevant in Westchester: we recognize that the cost of childcare is a barrier to those who seek to simultaneously further their education while raising their children.
These students will have the opportunity to attend an accredited (National Association for the Education of Young Children – NAEYC), award–winning, state of the art, childcare center. The Center received the highest rating from QUALITYstarsNY, the state’s rating system for childcare facilities.
The Center provides a nurturing environment that is safe and healthy. There are extensive opportunities for learning, physical development, culture, art expression, and language development. These offerings are important for the development of young minds and are aligned with research regarding learning and early child development.
This grant shows the federal government’s commitment to helping parents achieve their college goals.
There are current openings for the children of student parents and for members of the community. If you are interested in childcare, email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Also, for more information on the Center, see the Children’s Center web pages: http://www.sunywcc.edu/student-services/childrenscenter/