What Is Your Y Story?

By Tina Boljevac

This is the time of year when the phone at the center rings off the hook. A certain amount of anxiety can be heard in the voice of almost every caller. Families with their child on our waiting list call to check in, hoping that  circumstances have turned in their favor since the last time they called… Families with children already in the program call to ensure that the transition to the next group is going to be as smooth as possible.

Each parent wants what he or she feels is the best for their child. Having an opportunity to enter an early childhood education program that is of the highest quality is a hope that most working families have since the earliest beginnings…often even before their child is born. Having the ability to take up this opportunity when it becomes available is another hope for most families. Given the high price tag attached to high quality care, it can seem—and be—truly out of reach for some. But don’t lose faith! There are scholarships available through the Y that are awarded on a regular basis to those who demonstrate a genuine need. Sometimes that extra help can make all the difference.

Every so often, even the seemingly impossible becomes a reality, resulting in powerful personal testimonies. Here is mine:

“I am a Y employee and a single mom of a happy two year old boy.

I make just enough money to find myself either just slightly above the cut off line for many financial assistance programs, or I am just barely eligible, which makes the assistance that I do get is pretty insignificant.

With the cost of child care being as high as it is (currently $225 per week for full time care), and my subsidy just barely alleviating this painful reality by covering a mere 10% of the cost, if it weren’t for the Y and its generous employee discount as well as the scholarship awarded to my child, I would not be able to come up with the difference to cover the rest of the tuition – not even by trimming down expenses. They are already as bare bones as they can be, without compromising basic and other needs that must be met in order for both of us to lead a healthy life in all its aspects.

To add another layer to my challenging situation, I am not an American citizen. This puts me in a position in which I have to work to support myself and my child, because I have no one to fall back upon for financial support.  I am not free to make a choice not to work. This subsequently means that I cannot make a choice to keep my son out of child care.

 With extensive education in the field of early childhood education and psychology, and experience working in the ECE field in various positions for more than 10 years, I am very aware of the vast differences of quality that can be found from one child care setting to another, and am equally aware of the impact that poor quality child care experience and inadequate programming may have on a child. I would be distraught, worried, and unable to do my job effectively if I had to leave my child in a child care setting that is anything less than a nurturing, safe, high-quality learning environment that the Y provides.

Every morning, I wake up at peace, because I know that when I go to work, I will not only be doing work that I love, but will do it serenely, knowing that my little guy is happy, safe, motivated, encouraged and successful in all of his learning experiences. There is so much to learn about life, and finding one’s place in it is a life-long quest. Having a beautiful, engaging, and home-like place for my son to do it in, is a blessing for which I am thankful every day.

Thank you, the Y, for making it possible for my son to thrive and for me to walk with my head held high.”

If you have a personal story you would like to share with us, please contact us. As a nonprofit organization we rely heavily on fundraising, and sharing stories about the impact that the Y has had on you or your family can help us continue to not only provide the high quality services we offer, but also help families in need to access them.

Spring is here! Let’s hope that the sunshine melts away all of the anxieties that have been weighing us down during the cold winter months. Step outside on a beautiful day, look toward the sky and take a deep breath. Think of everything you can be thankful for. Let’s get excited about and energized for all that is to come!

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