Bainbridge State College student Julie McConnell was at wits end.
The mother of 2-year-old Gage Freeman, McConnell was trying to attend classes in pursuit of a degree in early childhood education, but it was a challenge arranging child care or to afford it while going to school.
“There were several times when I could not find anybody and I could not afford child care,” said McConnell, saying she had to take fewer classes in the fall semester because she was concerned about finding reliable care for her son while she was in school.
However, when the College sent an email advertising an arrangement with the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA to offer Bainbridge State students child care at an affordable price, McConnell thought it was a joke because it was such good news.
“This means a lot because it’s really dependable and convenient,” said McConnell, adding of the fact the YMCA is less than a mile from the Bainbridge campus. “It’s a lifesaver because you don’t have to fork over so much money.”
The agreement with the YMCA is for children age 2 through children enrolled in the eighth grade. Children ages 2 to 4 years old are eligible for playschool at the YMCA, which is between 8:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., with an hour before and after set aside for drop-off and pick-up. The cost is $3 per hour or $55 for the week if the Bainbridge State student is not a member of the YMCA.
Kathleen Ketterer, dean of the College’s School of Health Sciences and Professional Studies, said Bainbridge State Special Populations Coordinator Beverly Thompson started the conversation with the YMCA and then the two entities worked together to make it happen.
“We have surveyed students over the years and one of the main reasons that students could not attend school or missed classes was due to lack of child care,” Ketterer said.
Adam Schrott, executive director of the YMCA, said the child care assistance is benefitting the students and the YMCA because it is exposing it to more people.
“It is a different kind of service the YMCA is offering, and it is an opportunity to partner with the College,” Schrott said.