By Monique Larkin
By Monique Larkin
The average age for a typical Riverside City College student is 27.
Some delays may have came up for these students–like getting married and having children.
Not only are these diligent workers students, but they are also mothers and fathers.
These students wear two different, but equally important hats each day.
It’s a tough road to travel as Yolie Rodriguez says when it comes to trying to juggling a career and her domestic life.
For Rodriquez, she wanted to take her time with college. She wants to make sure it is the right decision for her and her kids. She puts her children first.
“I didn’t graduate from high school,” Rodriguez said. “I had to go back and finish after I had my children.”
In the post-high school years, Rodriguez stayed home with her children so she could nurture and love them as best she could.
Rodriguez figures that now that her kids are old enough now, she will try her hand at college.
“I want to try something different,” Rodriguez said. “Something more hands on. I know that with a college education there are more options to make more money.”
She is starting at RCC in the fall.
For Rodriguez she said she would have come to college sooner if given the opportunity for safe, affordable, reliable child care assistance, and then maybe she would have started persuing her college dreams earlier.
RCC may have not been able to give an early opportunity to these women, but Debbie Whitaker the associate dean for the RCC Early Childhood Studies program, worked diligently in order to receive a grant from the state that would be able to aide student parents currently studying at RCC.
The grant that was given this past year from the Department of Education federal grant program is called SHINE/CCAMPIS which stands for Self-help Initiates Necessary Education/Child Care Access Means Parents in School.
Sandy Henes, Instructional Department Specialist for the program discussed the fundamentals of SHINE and the program itself since this grant is the first grant the self-funded program has received.
“Four of the 12 spots that are opened for SHINE have already been filled,” Henes said. “The students who are involved with the program receive all of the benefits of the program has to offer. That means when the parents are studying in class, their children are also getting quality care in a safe and reliable environment.”
Henes also said that the parents will also be able to participate in parenting workshops, receive career guidance and tutoring.
“Students who are selected for this program are going to be given as much help and guidance that they need,” Henes said.
Henes pointed out that the ages of the children range from infants to preschool in each colorful and themed classroom. All ages are separated and there are two classrooms for each age.
“Parents can observe their children as their children cannot see out,” Henes said. “All of teachers in the classrooms are all certified as well as licensed. There are also student teachers (interns) who are all part of the program. That is the nice part.”
Henes even has her own daughter Kaelynn enrolled in the RCC Children’s program.
“I know that she’s OK,” Henes said. “I can see her all of the time and that she gets genuine care.”
She said that the program is open to the entire Riverside preschool district community.
“It would have been too expensive to fund something like this ourselves,” Henes said.
“We didn’t get all that we asked for from the state, but we are still excited. We wanted to receive more so that we would be able to reach out to more students, and we would love to receive more grants in the future.”
But whatever funds are available, SHINE is a good start for the program that will help parents who are struggling with the decision not to go to school because of children at home and the lack of self-funding.
“We are trying to help as many parents as we can,” Henes said.
Applications for the program are taken on an ongoing basis.