Trying to work to make ends meet and struggling to find quality and affordable childcare is overwhelming for many working families. It makes it even more of an uphill climb when parents have children with special care needs, such as behavioral and social/emotional developmental delays. John recalls those years as “living under constant stress. There were many days where I just wanted to give up and quit trying.”
John is not the only one facing the overwhelming struggle of trying to maintain employment to provide for his family while trying desperately to access quality and affordable childcare where he felt safe leaving his two kids. Childcare costs in Ohio account for almost 40% of a single parent’s income. With these staggering numbers, many parents drop out of the workforce as it is not cost-effective to work and spend nearly half of their income on childcare. Three years after John raised the question, Lower Lights Ministries began exploring answers. Last Spring, LLM formed a “think tank” composed of local experts, including staff from Action for Children, COSI, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and The Ohio State University’s Early Childhood Education department, and a local school board member. This team was challenged to dream up a childcare center that met the most pressing needs they saw in the industry. We then took their ideas and shared them with the families in our housing programs and added our 20+ years of experience in housing low-income families and our 11 years of operating a high-quality after-school program and the Lower Lights Child Enrichment Center was born! It has been 6 years since John sowed the seed by asking that all-important question, “why doesn’t Lower Lights have a childcare center?” It has been a joy that John has helped us in finding an answer to his question; a question that is still left unanswered for many low-income families today. Will you consider joining us in helping other families like John’s find answers too?