By Kim Dailey |Staff Writer|
On July 1, CSUSB’s Children’s Center may have to close its doors.
“Governor Jerry Brown is trying to cut all subsidized care from all student parents,” said Children’s Center director, Barb Kirby. “He wants to have a ‘Work First Program,’ which is not going to help the 98 percent of students who either receive full or partial subsidized help from the government to have their children in the Children’s Center.”
The Children’s Center (CC) is a Title 5 state funded program and is also a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accredited, which is the highest honor any child development center can receive.
The program is funded by the state, ASI, State Affairs, State and Food Program, Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) fundraisers and parents’ fees, including partially subsidized and full tuition, which the state determines by family size and income.
“As part of CSUSB staff, I pay full tuition for my child to come to this program. It is worth every penny to keep her here. It helps me keep my job and helps me become a better parent by offering such a great place for my child to come to,” said Mary Ulatan, administrative support assistant II.
The program offers a comprehensive educational program for children ages 3-5 and an educational after-school program for 6-12-year-olds as well.
“The program focuses on each individual child through development then academics,” said Kirby.
The center is very resourceful and uses whatever it can get its hands on, even bringing in real cow tongues, night crawlers, plants and other things to have a hands-on learning experience.
“My son goes around the house saying my bladder hurts or my brain hurts and he is only five and is pointing to where they are located. This program is giving my son opportunities that I can’t give him,” said student Yessenia Yorgesen.
The CC is not just an education program for the children who attend, but it also benefits many other students and programs here on campus.
The human development, nursing, kinesiology departments as well as child development students use the CC to study, to observe and research the children while being in the right type of environment.
The Work On Real Careers (W.O.R.C) program for the developmentally disabled students help them gain work experience and they also benefit from the CC being kept open.
The W.O.R.C helps San Bernardino Unified School District former students obtain the work experience by helping not only at the CC, but also around campus. At the CC they earn the experience by cleaning the pets cages, organizing toys, keeping the facilities fixed and raising the flags.
“If the program closes it’s going to hurt the enrollments here because if students don’t have the place to leave their children and feel comfortable then they will lose out on the opportunity for their education,” said Debbi Fox, a grandmother of a child in the program.
People who wish to support the CC can attend some upcoming fundraisers. “May 9 is going to be a Bike-A-Thon where the children will be riding their bikes for exercise in front of the Children’s Center and you can go up and give money to a child,” said president of PAC Valerie Tapia.
You can even simply walk into the CC and donate money in a jar located on the front counter and while you are there you can sign the petition which will be sent to the governor’s office.
Parents have already been writing and sending letters, petitions and calling Gov. Jerry Brown at 1-916-445-2841.
Parents and the staff could use your support by either calling the number listed or by typing in your zip code at legislature.ca.gov/cgi-bin/memberinfo which will direct you to a closest legislative office to address your written letters.
Photos by Kim Dailey