By: Yoojin Cho
Sep 11, 2018
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Community College is now moving forward with its plan to build a drop-in child care center at its Highland Campus. The Board of Trustees voted Monday night to approve the pilot program.
ACC's Vice President of Student Services Virginia Fraire told KXAN, "We have been in the planning stages for well over a year, really exploring all of our options."
The school will renovate an existing room that's currently empty. The YMCA of Austin will staff the program.
Fraire said the center will open in January. It'll run from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Students can drop off their children who are between the ages of two and 12 for up to two hours. There will be a flat fee of $8 per visit.
"Many of our students are single parents," Fraire said. "Here at ACC, we truly believe that we're a catalyst for social mobility for everyone in our community. We take a lot of pride in that purpose, so we're working to meet students where they're at, and sometimes for these students, it is daycare."
The program is designed to be useful for parents coming in for just one class, a test or a tutoring session.
"I definitely think it'll help ease students' stress a little bit about finding babysitters [or] daycare," said Osh'shalee Handy. "To know that we can drop him off at school, it's amazing!"
Handy has a 2-year-old son. She said, "He's the love of my life. He has a heart condition, but you wouldn't even know. He's thriving and doing well."
When she's not with her son, she's working or pursuing an associates degree in art.
"I take 3 classes, which is 9 credits right now," she said.
Handy told KXAN she's not the only one who's juggling job, academics and motherhood all at once. She said the drop-in center will be a welcome addition.
"It's very common that we have to try to manage everything, life and mom, it's very hard," she said. "But we manage to do it. We're still here in school. Making it and striving toward our goal, so I commend all the other parents that I see at school."
ACC already has a full-day, year round child care program at its Eastview campus. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, only about a third of 2-year colleges in Texas offer child care services on campus.