July 17, 2015
When TJ, his mom and grandmother came to the YWCA Central Alabama recently, they were hot, tired and frustrated. Several days into their search for childcare for the 2-year-old, they were very discouraged and the grandmother was almost in tears. “I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “They told me, ‘Go to the YWCA, they can help.’ ”
Thanks to a partnership with the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity (JCCEO) and the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the child development staff was able to do just that. TJ was enrolled in our new KIDS Korner classroom, which opened in April and serves children of homeless families.
“He is just flourishing,” Delyne Hicks, senior director of child development services for the YWCA, said. “His teacher shares his progress with his mother and grandmother, and they are just astonished at how his vocabulary has developed in the few short months he’s been here.”
The YWCA opened KIDS (Kids in Distress) Korner in 1989 after a survey of shelters revealed that child care during the day was a huge need and would allow parents to work or seek employment and housing. The nationally-accredited program offers a specialized curriculum tailored to meet the unique needs of the children.
The children in the new 2-year-old classroom, which serves eight boys and girls, have been very busy. They love to finger paint, and each child created a book featuring photos of his or her classmates. The students recently participated in a taste test and chose their favorite flavor of Goldfish crackers. (Parmesan won!)
“It has been so wonderful to watch them learn and grow,” Hicks said. “Seeing the smiles on the faces of these beautiful children every day brings joy to my heart.”
Knowing that TJ is in a safe, loving environment has brought a smile to his grandmother’s face, as well. “This has been an answer to prayer,” she said. Her daughter, TJ’s mother, was able to enroll in school to continue her education and has been working hard to meet her goals. “TJ loves coming to school, and my daughter is on the right track,” she said. “We’re going to be just fine.”