No crying mom, Ray Elison has child care services

By Destinee Flores
Pulse Staff Reporter

Clipart: Mom with crying kids

Being a student is hard work, but being a parent and a student is even harder.

Here is an inside look at three students who have had to find a way of managing their academic life with their family life.

Melanie Sanchez, a 21-year-old full-time mother, leaves her 4-year-old son at the on-campus Ray Ellison Family Center "because it's not far away."

As a married Fine Arts major, she qualified for a Carl Perkins scholarship that pays for the daycare center fees while she goes to school full time. While someone has a watchful eye on her son Vincent, Melanie uses her time alone to study. She has the peace of mind knowing that her son is only a walk away.

Since using the center, Melanie has noticed that her grades have improved immensely. With her homework out of the way, Melanie has more time to spend with her family and go to church on the weekends.

Soledad Garza, a 28-year-old mother of two, said, "It's [easier] to do homework at school than at home because it's easier to focus in a [school] environment."

Soledad is a full-time Art History major who works part-time, and she manages to get her studying done while at school. Although she does not use the REFC, she has the support of her family. In the morning, Soledad usually leaves her youngest with her family while her husband leaves the oldest at school.

While at home, all her attention falls on her children, so she knows she has to make use of her time on campus. Being a married mother, she makes dinner for the family and then does more of her homework in the evening.

Reva Rodriguez, a 19-year-old mother of a 3-month old son, said "While I watch Aiden, I can also do my homework at the same time."

Rodriguez is a full time student, who plans to study Broadcast Journalism. She has help from her parents while she's away at school. Her family is a big help in taking care of the baby since she has a 13-hour course load to keep up with. Her family also helps watch over her son while she does her homework at night. Otherwise, all of her focus is on spending time with her son.

The Ray Ellison Family Center offers outdoor and indoor learning activities, such as sensory materials, gross-motor skill development, and playtime on the playground that engage the children throughout the day.

Fees vary depending on which days the child will be at the center. Monday through Friday is a rate of $127 per week. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is a rate of $76.20 per week, and Tuesday and Thursday fees are $50.80 per week. The family center is open from 6:50 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and it is located behind the Applied Technology Building.

The Ray Ellison Family Center has two toddler classes, which accept ages 21-36 month olds, and two preschool classes, which accept 3-5 year olds. Enrollment is conducted each semester, and it is open to students, faculty, and community members. Students are given first priority.

Call (210) 486-3500 for more information.

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