Ypsi YMCA collaborative introduces evening and infant child care for EMU students and Ypsi residents

The Collaborative: Ypsilanti YMCA Child Development Center has introduced new child care services, including infant care and evening care, for Ypsi community members due to popular demand. The center now offers evening care until 9:30 p.m. two nights a week for full-time working parents or students with children. The Collaborative is managed by the Ann Arbor YMCA and sponsored by Eastern Michigan University (EMU), Ypsilanti Community Schools (YCS), and the Ypsilanti Housing Commission (YHC).

Kaitlyn Savage, liaison for The Collaborative, notes that 22% of undergraduate students nationwide are parents, but oftentimes quality child care can be difficult to access due to costs or schedule conflicts. Savage says The Collaborative's goal is to combat both of those roadblocks to ensure that parents are able to reach their academic goals and know that their children are being cared for.

“We aim to make postsecondary education more accessible to those raising kids during their programs,” Savage says. “We are able to do this by having care for multiple age groups, evening care that takes place during evening classes, and offering scholarships and financial aid to those who need it.”

Because The Collaborative serves EMU students, among other populations, the demand for quality infant and evening child care has been long requested by those utilizing the service, according to Jessica Alexander, Engage@EMU director of academic engagement programs.

“Many students take evening classes and there is often no or little child care at that time, and many times students have to bring their children to class,” Alexander says. “We created an option for parents to be able to drop their children off while they are in class. We hope it to be useful, accessible, and financially viable.”

In addition to EMU students with children, The Collaborative also works with YHC residents and YCS families. The Collaborative accepts children from six weeks to 12 yeas old, and operates on a sliding payment scale that can cover up to 80% of child care costs.
Alexander says The Collaborative initially wanted to expand its services in 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plans were put on hold.

“The world is quite different as many people work or even have classes remotely,” Alexander says. “But we still believe there is a demand for evening care and we hope this offering is a game-changer for our community.”

The Collaborative currently has an open waitlist application for those interested in enrolling their children in care, which can be found on the Ann Arbor YMCA website. More information can also be found on Engage@EMU’s website.

Rylee Barnsdale is a Michigan native and longtime Washtenaw County resident. She wants to use her journalistic experience from her time at Eastern Michigan University writing for the Eastern Echo to tell the stories of Washtenaw County residents that need to be heard.

Photo by 
Doug Coombe.
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