Families from all over Colorado shared their stories about needing better and more affordable childcare options for their infants and toddlers, and co-founders Erica Mackey and Elizabeth Szymanski said it was a tough choice to pick just one winner.
“Jada is a brave, strong single mom making it all work,” said Erica. “I am so grateful that we can support her on her journey.”
“Jada is a brave, strong single mom making it all work”
Jada is the single mom of a rambunctious, friendly 4-year-old named Gabby. A Denver native, Jada has lived in Denver nonprofit Warren Village’s transformational housing program since mid-August, after graduating from a group home for teen moms. Warren Village helps single parents facing poverty and housing instability achieve self-sufficiency. Now 22, Jada says she left home shortly after Gabby was born because of anger and substance abuse issues there.
Jada took classes at night to become a medical assistant and cared for Gabby during the day until she was 3. Then, Jada enrolled Gabby in HeadStart free of charge, but once she no longer qualified because of her income, she estimated she’d need to pay $1,800 a month for childcare.
“It’s like now that I’m making some money, I am thrown off this cliff,” Jada said.
While 22-year-old Jada’s struggle to find childcare for her 4-year-old daughter Gabby may be worse than many parents, the lack of affordable, quality options are common among working parents in Colorado.
Single parents pay on average 49% of their income for infant care. Even married parents of two children living at the poverty line pay 110% of their household income for center-based childcare, according to data from Childcare Aware of America. More than 60 percent of black and Hispanic Coloradans reside in a so-called childcare desert where children under 5 outnumber licensed providers, a majority of them in the Denver Metro, according to data from the Colorado Trust.
Jada said it’s been a struggle to find a childcare provider near her home and job at National Jewish Health that would accept Gabby because she has some special needs.
The ability to enroll Gabby in a high-quality, home-based MyVillage program will be a major relief, Jada said. That’s ultimately our goal for every parent in America.