Wednesday, May 27

UCLA Recreation to expand after-school child care program

The Little Bruins Clubhouse, which is now undergoing a pilot program, will have a grand opening next quarter. It is a child supervision program on the Wooden Center's second floor. (Jintak Han/Assistant photo editor)

Students with children will have access to more evening child care services spring quarter.

UCLA Recreation will expand its winter pilot program called the Little Bruins Clubhouse, which provides evening child care services. The clubhouse aims to help student parents engage in more evening activities on campus.

The pilot version of the Little Bruins Clubhouse, which launched Jan. 9, is open on the second floor of the Wooden Center from Monday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The clubhouse’s activities will be coordinated by UCLA Recreation’s Youth Programs, an organization that has provided summer camps to UCLA community members for decades. The program’s activities will therefore resemble summer camp activities, such as games, homework supervision and art projects, according to a UCLA Recreation statement.

UCLA initiated the clubhouse pilot program after students voted to pass the Social Justice Referendum in spring 2016, according to the Recreation statement.

The SJR, which passed in last spring’s undergraduate student government elections, instituted a $24.99 quarterly student fee to fund new retention and outreach programs.

The referendum allocated 79 cents specifically for child care services. It also funded the expansion of the Wooden Center’s operating hours and aims to fund programs like the Academic Advancement Program.

During the pilot phase, officials coordinated with other campus entities to finalize specific plans, such as programming costs and location for the opening in spring.

Recreation is considering making the clubhouse a charge-free service for undergraduates and instituting a small fee for graduate students in the spring.

The pilot program is free and operates on a first-come, first-served basis.

Katherine Stanfill, a fourth-year history and gender studies student and a mother of two children, said she used the pilot program this quarter so she could attend other campus activities or extend her evening study hours.

“I have kids that are 6 and 9 years old, so I had to schedule my classes to get out of school by 2 o’clock,” she said. “And I couldn’t afford to hire a nanny, because I didn’t have time for a job.”

However, she is now able to drop her kids at the clubhouse, which made her feel more welcome at UCLA beyond instruction time, Stanfilll added.

Christine Waters, a third-year gender studies student who is a single mother, said the program helped free up her time for extra-credit assignments and other opportunities that only happen during the evening.

“As a single mother, it’s so hard being a student and a mother at the same time,” Waters said. “But the (open) time frame between 5 to 8 p.m. gives me so much opportunity to engage in other things, and it makes the parenting population feel much more included in the UCLA community.”

Waters added she thinks the only problem is not many parenting students knew about the pilot program.

Stanfill said the clubhouse was not publicized during its pilot stage and she heard about it through word of mouth.

Karla Rodriguez, a second-year nursing student and a mother, said she thinks child care services are very difficult to obtain on campus, and hopes the clubhouse will be more available.

“My daughter has been on the waiting list since July,” Rodriguez said. “I really appreciate the availability (the clubhouse) will provide for parenting students, but it would be more useful to me if the times were between 4:30 (and 8 p.m.) so I can drop her off before class.”

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