By Jessica Stamp
Wee Care Day Care and Learning Centre, located in Fedor Hall at Youngstown State University, has been in business for almost 35 years and cares for YSU faculty, staff and students’ children while they attend class or work.
Donna McGrath-Rooney, owner and founder of Wee Care Day Care and Learning Centre, said having a child daycare on campus allows parents to feel reassured their children are safely taken care of on campus.
“They are worry free while they’re either in class or at work. It gives them the opportunity to have studying time and still know that their child is being cared for and being educated in a preschool program,” McGrath-Rooney said.
McGrath-Rooney explained most of the workers are student employees and the daycare collaborates mostly with education majors.
“We also employ students while they are on campus, so we’re always looking for individuals who are in the field of education who are looking for a part time job,” McGrath-Rooney said. “We hopefully are able to provide them a career opportunity once they’ve graduated.”
McGrath-Rooney said the daycare hopes to work with the early childhood education program, an associate program that allows students the opportunity to receive higher pay.
“We like to put you on board through that program from the minute you step into it. Our hope is when a student graduates in two years that they become full-time employee with us either as a lead preschool teacher [or] a lead toddler teacher,” McGrath-Rooney said.
The daycare also partners with the Office of Student Experience to help students who are looking for a job or scholarships.
Joy Polkabla Byers, associate vice president for Student Experience, said the office offers two student scholarships to cover childcare costs.
Applications open in April and are based on the needs of students, grades and those who previously received the scholarship. The scholarship is open to all students.
“Typically every April we put out a call for applicants and there is a committee that reviews the applicants and then they usually pick the top two and it is based off of a variety of things, such as need, grades, [if] they received this scholarship in the past,” Byers said.
Byers said there is another scholarship called the Day Care Assistance Scholarship that offers students the chance to get reimbursed for their childcare costs.
“There’s an opportunity that students can get reimbursed for their child care costs. It can be used at Wee Care Day Care, it can be used at other facilities as well and they apply for that at the beginning of every semester,” Byers said. “They would show their receipts of payments and they can get reimbursed for these specific amounts.”
Students can also use Wee Care Day Care through a drop-off appointment for any occasion where they need their child to be looked after.
“If you were a student that maybe did not use Wee Care Day Care throughout the semester but you needed some additional support for studying or your exam schedule that they will do drop off,” Byers said. “You need to sign up in advance but you have the ability to do that.”
To schedule a drop-off appointment, head to Wee Care Day Care’s website for more information.