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Oakwood University Provides its Employees an After School Childcare Program (1211 hits)

by Shawnda Cotton and Pamela Holiday

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakwood employees with school-age children, like so many people around the country, ask themselves: “Is it safe to return to campus?” “Should I stay home with my children?” “How will this affect my job?” etc.

More importantly, employees are left to make the tough decisions on concerning family accommodations for children who are attending school virtually and/or children in a face to face environment with no after school program.

President Dr. Leslie Pollard appointed the Family Care Taskforce, led by Shawnda Cotton and Pamela Holiday, to create solutions for parents. Several proposals were presented, and two new initiatives were approved:

1. Providing employees with one hour of flextime which can be used in conjunction with their lunch breaks to check on their children at home.
2. Creating an after-school STEM Enrichment program utilizing biology students to tutor, help with homework, and introduce fun science experiments.

The after-school program began on September 14, 2020, and is a mutually rewarding partnership with the Department of Biological Sciences, allowing OU students to meet their service-learning requirements, developed by Dr. Elaine Vanterpool, department chair. The program has been highly successful according to participating students, parents, and Biology tutors. Here are some of their comments:

"After school care is fun. I'm learning things above my grade. The Oakwood students are nice." -- Vanessa Davis, 5th grade.

“The Oakwood University Aftercare Program is a true answer to our prayers. My child is so excited to know that he can interact with persons who are interested in his growth and development after school. He thoroughly enjoys the biology students and looks forward to being presented with challenges through daily scientific activities and experiments. I appreciate all efforts that contributed to meeting the needs of us parents. Thank you for planting the seed for future Oakwoodites by investing in our children and providing the opportunity to participate in this aftercare and service-learning program.” – Adana Wilson, parent.

"The experience has been life changing. To see the joy on my kids' faces as they learn something new in STEM has been priceless. Most of all, I'm thankful God has given me the opportunity to teach about his wonderful world to the next generation." -- Adrianna Felder, OU Biology Student.

"Participating in the after-school STEM Enrichment Program has truly been enriching on both ends. I have enjoyed the experience thus far. I am looking forward and hope to spark a love for the knowledge of STEM in others." -- Christyn Byrd, OU Biology Student.

"Working with the kids has caused me to tap into a childlike mindset and become excited about the simplest experiments." -- Joycelyn Williams-, OU Biology Student.

"Taking classes in the scientific field often makes science feel like a chore but doing science experiments and helping the childlren understand how our world works helped me fall even more in love with science." -- Kayla Holloway, OU Biology Student.

"Always thought I would be the one teaching or helping, but I've been learning so much from these bright kids. It has been a really cool experience thus far." -- Gamaliel Taengwa, OU Biology Student.

"It is so amazing to see the building of the critical-thinking and innovating skills in my students as they disseminate knowledge they have learned to the future generations." – Dr. Elaine Vanterpool, Chair & Professor of Biological Sciences.

The after-school program is located in the Anna Knight Hall Library. Light meals are served each day, sponsored in part by the Office of Spiritual Life and New Beginnings, purchased from the Oakwood Farms Tree House Bistro.
Posted By: Reggie Culpepper
Thursday, October 8th 2020 at 9:06PM
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