A special thank you to our 2022 Grantee Partner, Hawkeye Community College Child Development Center, for writing this guest blog and sharing more about their work.

We are focused on the whole child and their family, providing quality education to those we serve in a safe and nurturing environment. Our goal is to allow all our children and families to feel welcome and comfortable as they learn and succeed. We provide care for children between the ages of six weeks and five years old.

We care about each family as a whole and understand the financial challenges that many of our parenting students face as they seek quality child care for their children. Many of our parenting students face greater obstacles than normal in pursuing, achieving, and succeeding in their educational goals. Finding affordable child care can be an insurmountable obstacle for low-income families. In order to help them, we try to carefully balance the expense of providing quality child care with the families’ needs for affordable access.

A primary solution is for Hawkeye to build important partnerships with organizations that can absorb some of the costs of delivering this care. One of these partners is the Iowa Women’s Foundation, which provides scholarships to mitigate the disparity between the cost of service and a family’s ability to pay. These scholarships allow more mothers to persist and graduate, improving their economic stability. Additionally, providing education to their children helps them to meet their developmental milestones and gets them back on track for entering school.

Ramona, Libbey, and Jocelyn are students at Hawkeye Community College with families being served by supplemental funding at the Child Development Center.

Ramona, a nursing student, shared, “I could not have been in school if it was not for the child care services. I have two children and I could not afford to pay for child care because my household income is so little. I am very grateful for the child care because it helps with my children and once they are at the center, I have more time to study and make good grades.”

Libbey is studying to become an occupational therapy assistant. She shared, “The funding has helped so much because I probably wouldn’t be able to afford child care for my child as I am a single mother and a student. I am now almost done with my schooling because of the resources offered. I will graduate this July. I am so thankful that my child has had a safe place to go and has learned so much in his preschool. We wouldn’t be where we are without the funding.”

Jocelyn, also a nursing student, shared, “I am very grateful for the Child Development Center. Before I found out about this service, my children went to a daycare that had zero structure and it was getting to be so expensive. My advisor suggested I work as little as possible to focus on school since I already had 3 children. I worked four hours a week and daycare was much more expensive than my wages. It is hard going to school with 3 children but sending them somewhere where they are loved and cared for makes it a lot easier. I have time to go to class, I have time to study, and I have time to take tests online. There’s always a lot of communication between the teachers and myself. I appreciate them more than I could put into words. I also want to point out how convenient it is to drop my kids off at the same location I spend my days. I don’t have to run across town and back multiple times a day to pick up and drop off. I’ve wanted to go back to school for many years now but couldn’t afford it. These funds made that happen. I jumped into school without a plan but fortunately, everything fell into place for me. I wouldn’t be able to strive and get good grades if I didn’t have these funds and child care services.”

The Center is also a learning lab where students in early childhood education, nursing, and occupational therapy assistant programs participate in field experiences and work closely with the children through carefully planned observations and teaching activities. Serving one family benefits not only the parenting student and their child, but also the other students on campus and the people they will serve in their future careers. Affordable, high-quality child care is essential to parenting students and their ability to balance school and family responsibilities—a goal that every parent deserves to easily achieve.