Childcare Remedied at TMCC

By: Vicky Nguyen
By: Vicky Nguyen

Back to school time brings its share of stresses, such as buying books, finding classes, and starting the homework cycle.

But parents who are also students face some other challenges, like where to find childcare.

Today I found a program offered at Truckee Meadows Community College and, without this option, a lot of parents wouldn't be able to go back to school.

Or they'd be forced to pay a lot more for childcare.

In a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club, TMCC offers an after-school drop-in center.

Staffers say it is an affordable and convenient way to foster higher learning, both for parents and their children.

Debra Brastoff is a mother of two who headed back to college to pursue her love of teaching. "I'm studying to be a math teacher," she says.

Part of what's making it possible is the TMCC drop-in center.

"I probably wouldn't have gone back to school. I would've stayed at home until they were old enough," says Brastoff.

"They" are Ivan and Thomas.

Monday through Friday, while mom goes to class, the boys head off to the center.

"I play on the computers. I like it because I know so much about computers. I'm good at the games," says Thomas.

Says Ivan: "I play with my friends. I watch movies."

The boys are part of a group of about 15 children, ages 6 to 18. The kids have access to a computer lab and, of course, games.

Center staff also plan activities that foster leadership skills and teach children how to deal with peer pressure.

The program is also financially friendly - the cost to enroll is just $15 per child for the entire school year.

It's a big break from the hundreds of dollars that daycares usually cost.

"The Boys and Girls Club - they get a lot of grants. We do a lot of fundraising and we get private donations," says site coordinator Csey McMullen.

TMCC is the only local college that offers this type of low cost, on-campus childcare.

Organizers say they're not only aiming to help parents earn a degree - they're also trying to score with the little ones by giving them a positive experience with campus life.

This particular center is only open to parents who attend TMCC, but the local Boys and Girls Club chapter offers other after school programs at different locations and that could help some other student parents too.

The program also takes care of transportation so that parents can go directly from work to class and meet their children on campus.

Really quite a bargain for $15 a year!


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