Every fulltime student knows that going to school is rough. But imagine being a fulltime student and a mother. The daily demands of classes, children and housework can be enough to make a person scream. So how do so many student mothers do it every day? With a helping hand from the state and various school programs, moms are finding it a bit easier to return to school fulltime.
There are now many options when it comes to childcare. Every community college in the state of California offers the Cal WORKS program. This program includes work-study, childcare, job placement and financial aid programs. In addition to Cal WORKS, Yuba College offers assistance from programs such as CARE and an onsite daycare, located on the east side of campus.
Yuba College student Stephanie Stanley, who has two elementary school-aged children, thinks these programs help. Every morning, she drops her children off at school and attends classes until early afternoon. Stanley is enrolled in EOP&S and CARE. Both programs help her in buying school supplies and textbooks. She also gets a meal card that gets her twelve meals a month at the cafeteria.
“Heck yea, it’s hard being a mom and going to school,” said Stanley. “I’m glad we have the programs we do. It makes things easier.”
This is Stanley’s second semester at Yuba College. “I have to work twice as hard to get anywhere. Yea, my husband helps, and it’s a good thing my kids don’t need me to do every little thing, but they still need me, and I have to make the time for them and school,” she continued. “The money I get from CARE and EOP&S helps with school costs. I am going to be talking to Financial Aid about student loans next.”
When you add the cost of attending school and the cost of caring for your children in a month, it seems daunting. Shaivonne Simpkins, another Yuba College student mother, takes her daughter to a daycare near her east Marysville home. She is a fulltime student, but she does not qualify for many of the programs offered.
“It’s hard,” she said. ” It is real hard when you’re trying to go to school, you know, but you can’t afford to do the things you need to do. You’re lucky if you get the help.”
Simpkins’ husband is in the military, and according to program guidelines, makes more than the program allows. While she does qualify for EOP&S, she does not qualify for CARE or Cal WORKS.
“We pay our bills. We have to pay for our daycare provider. We don’t qualify for Children’s Home Society to pay the whole cost of child care, unless I’m in school for more than thirty hours a week and the school’s daycare list is too long,” said Simpkins.
Children’s Home Society is a state run program that offers free to low cost childcare in the community. In order to qualify, a student must be on welfare or have a low income.
Another Yuba College student, Liz Sortore, whose baby girl is only 16 months, takes her daughter to an off-campus daycare as well. Unlike Simpkins, Sortore qualifies for the college’s Cal WORKS programs.
“Having these programs is a good thing, if you think about it,” she said. “I want to finish school, but it’s difficult when you have only so much time in the day. I have classes that take most of my day, so I arrange them the best I can to make time for my family.” Cal WORKS pays for her childcare through Children’s Home Society.
CHS has a process for getting people childcare. However, there is a daycare right here on campus, to help the moms who cannot take their children elsewhere. It is a convenience some moms may not know about.
The waiting list, however, is approximately six months long. It depends on your income. The length of the waiting list illustrates just how many students who attend Yuba College have children. The day care offers on campus care for children 6 months and up. The facility is staffed by ECE majors, all currently CPR and First Aid trained. The center is brightly decorated, has many things to offer kids and focuses on providing a learning experience for the children.
“It’s a Godsend,” said one mother. Not all moms seek school-related assistance though. Jaquie Davis, a mother of three, relies on family. “My mom takes my older two to school and watches my youngest until it’s time for him to go to preschool,” said Davis. “I take the bus to school and in the afternoon she picks me up.”
Davis receives welfare benefits that pay for her tuition and unit fees, textbooks and supplies. She has not applied for any programs. “I just never tried,” she admitted.
Davis has decided to take a semester off in order to try to find work. “School takes a lot out of you. You come home and you have so much housework and homework. Then your kids need you. At least if you’re working, you don’t bring it home,” she explained.
Many mothers agree with her. Davis seemed to sum up the experiences of most mothers attending Yuba College when she said, “You really have to balance the load of homework with housework. You have to have patience and determination.”