High quality on-site childcare helps these students beat the odds and graduate
NEW YORK — Before beginning her studies last week, 37-year-old Irena Butcher dropped her daughter Charlie off at preschool. She returned for a visit a few hours later, grabbed a hug, read a few chapters of Dr. Seuss’s “Fox in Sox,” then headed back to classes that could stretch well into the evening.
Through it all, she never had to leave campus.
Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Early Childhood Center offers a lifeline for student parents, with high-quality childcare available daytime and evenings, including on weekends. Parents can visit their children anytime, and thanks to a sliding scale and multiple funding streams, none pay more than $35 a week.
Three-year-old Charlie loves going to her own classroom while Butcher goes to hers. “She knows that I’m going to school,” said Butcher, who got her associate’s degree in nursing from BMCC in December and is preparing for board exams. “We talk about it. Mommy is studying to give people shots.”
I met Butcher while spending a day watching the comings and goings at BMCC’s center in downtown Manhattan, which serves about 300 parents a year at the City University of New York’s largest undergraduate college campus. Childcare is offered on all of CUNY’s 17 campuses, a rarity at a time when many are cutting back.