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via Ka Leo O Hawaii: UH Manoa Student College Newspaper & Media – Two programs support student-parents.

Two Programs support student parents

by Junghee Lee

With Furlough Fridays, more student-parents are worried about their childrens’ education and child care during the hours they have class.

This is a concern for Soon Jung Kim, a senior business major with a 4-year-old son in prekindergarten.

“This affects me because with less school hours for my son, there is more work for him to do at home,” Kim said. “But since I’m busy with my own school work, I feel guilty for not making my child’s learning a priority.”

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa offers two programs for student-parents. The first program is the Student Parents at Mānoa (SPAM), which provides resources and referrals to students to help them balance school and family.

“We are interested in working with student-parents,” said Teresa Bill, SPAM program coordinator. “We want to help them to our extent.”

The program was launched last year by the Bridge of Hope program, which was created as an education option for welfare recipients. While the Bridge of Hope was made to assist only welfare recipients, SPAM is for anyone who needs assistance.

“SPAM also focuses on enhancing the visibility of students who have children on campus, so that when decisions are made within the school, student-parents are considered,” Bill said.

Another program is the UHM Children’s Center. The Children’s Center serves as a daycare center for student-parents’ children Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Children’s Center has a maximum enrollment of 135 children per day, and when Furlough Fridays started there wasn’t enough room.

“Students always have first priority because we are here to assist students to continue on their education,” said Wayne Watkins, the Children’s Center director.

The average cost of the Children’s Center is about $500 to $700 a month, depending on students’ financial aid needs. The Children’s Center is funded by these fees and the Office of Student Affairs. Seventy-five percent of the children enrolled are UH student’s children, and the other 25 percent are UH faculty’s children.

The Children Center faculty consists of 18 professional teachers employed by UH, about 20 student assistants and about eight practicums from the College of Education.

“Every day there are lots of future college students playing and learning at the Children’s Center,” Watkins said.

However, most parents are uninformed about these programs.

“If they have these programs, they should advertise it; I never heard or have been informed about this before,” Kim said. “Knowing about these programs would have helped me a lot.”

With Furlough Fridays ahead, more student-parents will look for alternatives for their children.

“We hope students use our program, and if they have any ideas to improve, we would love to hear it,” Bill said.

For more on Furlough Fridays go on KaLeo.org/news

SPAM: Student Parent At Manoa

http://manoa.hawaii.edu/studentparents/

gotkids@hawaii.edu

Teresa Bill (808)956-8059

UHM Children’s Center

http://www.hawaii.edu/childrenscenter/

Wayne Watkins (808) 9567963

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