November 09, 2021

Military provider in San Diego uses opportunity to take ECE classes and participate in coaching program

This is episode 3 in the 'Pandemic Provider Interview' series. You can find more episodes here.

So I was like, well, I can't do anything else. So what else can I do? I can't qualify for unemployment. So what else can I do? I could go to school, right? If I go to school, they'll give me financial aid through the CARES act. And then, so I've been going to school taking my child development, and I'm almost done.

At this point, I'm like, I don't finish school until the end of June, right? And so I'm like, well, let me just go ahead and finish what I started because I'm almost complete, I'm almost done. And so I'm like, let me get back. I went to look at the waitlist and I mean, it was pathetic, you know, it's like three or four people, and they're not really prepared to come back right now, they just put their name out there.

There hasn't been a demand. Most people want to wait and to find out how this reset is gonna be done, you know, because they want to know if they put their kids in care are we going to have another surge and then have to pull them out? And a lot of people are saying, well, hey, we're staying home, we're saving that money.

Yes, so during this time period, I was able to go SB2PI, the San Diego quality preschool initiative program. So I was able to link up with them. And then they provide coaching. And so it's like, I get to have a coach that I talk to twice a month. And you know, help you go through what you need to do to get your degree, what you need to do to do this, that, the third. And I just really, really love that. And then they have different trainings and stuff like that. So that I think has been the limelight of this whole pandemic because normally, it is literally a long waitlist to get into that program. And then they've been providing funding as well, they've been providing stipends. They provide materials for your program, support, they sent the eye mobile and the dentist mobile and the hearing aid mobile to your home but for all the kids and I've just really enjoyed their support.

I got all kinds of new materials from my program that I wouldn't have been able to get because of the waitlist is so long to get in.

Provider:

I am a family child care provider. I have had a license for eight years. I want 14 kids, but I can't right now because of the building that I'm in. I've been licensed for over five years. Yeah, no, only five years in a row per se. I am also a military provider. I provide care for military active duties, DLD, veterans, and wounded warriors.

So I had to close because they require everybody to close, right? Wait what did we do, 15 days till what? Well 15 days whatever the case may be? So we did that and then I think we had to close March 26th for two weeks or three weeks, or however much it was. Then they made it where we can only take care of essential workers only and not take care of anybody else. So the cool thing about that was in order to become an essential worker, you had to either be dual or single military with an essential working job that wasn't teleworking. So what does that mean? So if I had a parent that had one who was active duty, and one was just a regular civilian, and that's civilian work at cycles, okay, and Geico was parallel working, then that parent cannot come, get daycare, and get a subsidy. You’ve got to pay out of pocket. You're paying out of pocket if you work at home. That means how am I going to get paid?

Interviewer:

How many families did you lose at that point?

Provider:

All six

Interviewer:

Have you had any families come back?

Provider:

Nope.

Interviewer:

Have you received any grants or public support to help you stay afloat?

Provider:

I received a grant from the Children's Home Society and then I started going to school. I want to go to school. So I was like, “well, I can't do anything else”. So what else can I do? I can't qualify for unemployment. So what else can I do? I could go to school, right? If I go to school, they'll give me financial aid through the CARES act, so I've been going to school taking care of my child development major, and I'm almost done.

I had trouble paying rent, but thank god for my apartment building because they only make you pay $525, about 10-25%, whatever it was, 25%. You only pay a certain amount of money and that's all you have to pay for the rent. Then basically, when I would get my grant from the Children's Foundation, I gave them that. When I got the grant from school, I gave them that, so they see that I am trying. Then I got the rental assistance program. So that was basically what I've been doing. School day is a weekly program they have, they call it the pantry, and they give you food every single week. Then once a month, they give us in bulk, you know, produce, meats, and stuff like that. At this point, I'm like, “I don't finish school until June, right? So I'm like, well, let me just go ahead and finish what I started because I'm almost done”. So I'm like, let me get that.

I went to look at the waitlist and stuff like that. I mean, it was pathetic, you know, it's like three or four people, and they're not really prepared to come back right now, they're just putting their name out there. There hasn't been a demand. Most people want to wait and to find out how this reset is gonna be done because they want to know if they put their kids in care, are we going to have another surge and then have to pull them out? A lot of people are saying, well, “hey, we're staying home, we're saving that money and got to be home anyway from watching our kids”.

Interviewer:

What's been the hardest part for you this past year?

Provider:

I think, unknowing, you know, the unknowing how you're going to pay your bills. In light of the situation, you normally go to work and you're going to get paid. You don't think that you're going to be a pandemic, where you don't know, is it going to surge again? Are there going to be more deaths? Is it going to come to your doorstep and is it not going to come to your doorstep? You know, somebody's gonna get sick on your watch and how is that going to play out? Are you going to be liable for somebody's kid getting sick and dying? Oh, God, on top of all the other stuff we have to be concerned about, how is that going to play out? How does that take? Are they going to sign something that says they're going to make it? If somebody gets sick, and catches COVID in your daycare, then you're not going to be liable? You're not going to be sued? I mean, that's it, that's the scariest part about it.

Interviewer:

What support has been the most helpful for you?

Provider:

So during this time period, I was able to go to SB2PI, and that’s the San Diego quality preschool initiative program, I believe. So I was able to link up with them. Also, they provide coaching and so it's like, I get to have a coach that I talk to twice a month to help you go through what you need to do to get your degree, what you need to do, to do this. I just really, really love that. They have these different trainings and stuff like that. So that I think has been the limelight of this whole pandemic because normally, it is literally such a long waitlist to get into that program and then they've been providing funding as well. They've been providing stipends. They provide materials for your program and support. They sent the eye mobile, the dentist mobile, the hearing aid mobile to your home for all the kids and I've just really enjoyed their support. I got all kinds of new materials from my program that I wouldn't have been able to get because the waitlist is so long to get in.

Interviewer:

How would you say that the pandemic and having to close has impacted your general sense of well being or your mental health?

Provider:

Well, I think that, for the most part, it has made me pretty positive because, you know, I wake up every morning and I tell people, because a lot of providers call me, I have a lot of providers call me, “How are you so happy?” , “Okay, I'm gonna tell you what, “remember to breathe through your nose, and breathe after your mouth, we can breathe”. A lot of people can't breathe. A lot of people are all ventilated. So my well-being is I can breathe, and I can get up, I can walk, I can exercise, I don't have to wake up at no god hour you know, I call it dark 30, and get up and prepare for these kids to come for 10 to 12 hours a day. So I mean, you gotta be thankful for this vacation we have, we might not have it again.

Interviewer:

Is there anything that you want to share with me that we haven’t talked about?

Provider:

No, I can't wait to see the little kiddies again.

Interviewer:

What is your favorite part about being a childcare provider?

Provider:

You know what my favorite part is? I'm gonna say the honest to god truth. I've been asking my daycare kids and my daycare parents and I'm a different kind of daycare provider. So even though they don't come to me, I go and I pick them up and I take them on field trips. I think the best part of it is when the parents have to FaceTime their kids, because their kids are telling me they don't want to go home and I have to faceTime the parents and I have to tell them, “Listen, your kids don't want to come home”. They'd be like, you gotta come home, little Johnny and the kid would be like, “I don't want that, we want to stay with her”.