I became a single mother at the tender age of 17. My oldest child is now 10, and throughout the first nine years of her life, my parents were able to watch her while I worked the second shift. I now have three children, aged 10, 5, and 3. Up until March 2023, my parents were able to care for my children until my mom physically couldn't anymore.
I was off work for three weeks due to a lack of childcare. Because I worked the second shift, I couldn't find a daycare that was open late or someone willing to watch my kids at such late hours. During this time, I did some research and discovered a program called A Million Dreamz. I was eager to enroll my kids, and once I was able to do so, I was thrilled. This opportunity was not only for me to get back to work but also for my children to interact with other kids their age and socialize.
At the time of enrollment, my income was too high to qualify for state assistance for childcare. However, I was presented with the facility's flex rate program. This program took a huge chunk of financial stress off my shoulders, as I was able to pay a fraction of the standard rates required. The financial relief this program provided allowed me to stay afloat with my finances and ensure my bills were paid. Without this assistance, I wouldn't have been able to get back on my feet and be where I am today.
Initially, I was hesitant about how my children would respond to the change, given their lack of socialization with other children. However, the staff and care provided by the teachers at A Million Dreamz were exceptional. They made my kids feel welcome and helped them adjust to the change in routine after so many years. My 5-year-old has speech delays, and with their help and the school's resources, she was able to express her feelings more and vocalize what she liked, didn't like, or wanted when needed.