Haverhill YMCA Launches Free Child Care Pilot at Northern Essex Community College

Iseline Mendoza and her son. (Courtesy photograph.)

The Haverhill YMCA is launching a pilot program this month at Northern Essex Community College that offers free drop-in child care for students with infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

CARES Act grants and the NECC Fund enables the partnership on the college’s Haverhill campus. Students, faculty and staff are able to access up to eight hours a week of free child care while they participate in on campus classes and activities.

“We could not be more excited to deepen our partnership with NECC while providing more vital child care services to the Greater Haverhill Community. The need for child care continues to grow in our service area and our Y has a long-standing commitment to ensuring families have access to quality and affordable care for their children. This is a wonderful extension of that commitment.” said Tracy Fuller, regional executive director, Haverhill YMCA.

Child care will be available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and parents must enroll two weeks in advance since space is limited to 15 spots per hour., The school said one in four community college students nationally is the parent of a child under the age of 18.

“Having drop-in child care available will help relieve some of the stress on our students who are parents, allowing them to focus on their studies without the additional burden of securing quality child care,” said Michael McCarthy, the college’s vice president of administration. “We also hope it will give more of them the flexibility to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs and student government.”

Iseline Mendoza of Lawrence, a recent accounting graduate and past president of the Student Government Association, would typically bring her two-year-old son to the weekly association meetings. “I think the school saw from my example that it was a need,” she says. “Because we’re a community college and many students come in years after high school, there is a great number of students with children.”

This is a pilot program, and, if successful, the college will consider extending it. The Haverhill YMCA has been offering early education programs on NECC’s Haverhill Campus since January of 2021. Open to Northern Essex faculty, staff, and student families and community families, the child care center is located in the Sport and Fitness Center on the college’s Haverhill Campus, 100 Elliott St, Haverhill.

Parents who are interested in the new free drop-in child care, may contact Julie Jordan of the Haverhill YMCA, [email protected].

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