By Samantha Smith
Youngstown State University offers several services to students who have children. Wee Care Daycare and Learning Centre on campus offer child care for in-class students.
The day care and learning center awarded the Wee Care Scholarship to two student parents enrolled at YSU who hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. The scholarship awarded free child care for one year during the students’ class times. The application deadline ended Aug. 3.
Joy Polkabla Byers, executive director of Campus Recreation and Student Wellbeing, helps manage the contract with Wee Care Daycare and Learning Centre. She said the scholarship was created to help students afford child care while still focusing on school. This is the first year the learning center started to offer the scholarship.
“One of the things that we really have been looking at is what impacts an individual to be successful at YSU and for those students that are parents,” Byers said. “One of the biggest barriers for them is child care at affordable cost.”
Byers said the Learning Centre focuses on providing a safe and nurturing environment for their children, with a professionally trained faculty. They make sure all guidelines for a child’s education and needs are met based on their age and development.
“They have individuals that are trained professionally on how to provide child care, making sure that the classrooms are following the proper curriculum for that age group to help get children ready to go to school,” Byers said.
The day care and Learning Centre continuously adapts to all pandemic guidelines announced by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
“They work closely with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services,” Byers said. “They follow those guidelines to provide the best quality care possible.”
The Rich Center for Autism, located at Beeghly Center at YSU, provides educational services for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Interim Executive Director Gregory Boerio said the center helps determine what is best for the students academically.
“We seamlessly connect their behavior supports and their behavior programming speech and occupational therapy, and just kind of blend that together,” Boerio said.
The Rich Center, Boerio said, provides multiple options for working with different departments, including collaborating with research on campus and employing students from campus.
Like the Wee Care Daycare and Learning Centre, the Rich Center also follows the guidelines set by the governor, including proper sanitization, temperature screenings, and more. Boerio said the Rich Center had already been keeping everything clean since before the virus hit.
“We were already … very focused on health and safety protocols and hygiene,” Boerio said. “A lot of our students have compromised immune systems.”
For more information on the Rich Center for Autism, and the Wee Care Daycare and Learning Centre, visit richcenter.ysu.edu and weecareohio.com.