JCC program helps fill need for child care

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 5:07 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Getting a degree, starting a business, and chasing their dreams. For an aunt and her niece from Black River, all three became possible with a little bit of help from Jefferson Community College.

“It was a dream since I was 17 to have my own daycare.”

Rosa Torres’ dream came true last year after she was one of the first to graduate from Jefferson Community College’s in-home childcare training program. Designed to educate, train, and prepare people for start at home daycare centers.

“I was working with kids here in Watertown, so when I saw the opportunity, I said, okay, this is the right time now to do it,” said Rosa, owner, RT’s Bilingual Daycare.

“It’s like a family, too. It’s not just work. So, they can call me Auntie or whatever they like so they can feel more familiar,” said Rosa Rivera, assistant, RT’s Bilingual Daycare.

Torres teamed up with her niece, Rosa Rivera, after both completed JCC’s childcare boot camp to open RT’s Bilingual Daycare. It provides care for youngsters while parents are at work - a major concern for parents in the north country according to Jefferson Community College’s Joanna Habermann.

“There are more childcare slots needed than what is available. It is a huge issue for our community,” she said..

The lack of viable options is why JCC partnered with the Community Action Planning Council and the Small Business Development Center to create the childcare boot camp.

“The north country is a childcare desert. There are not enough seats available. There’s a waiting list,” said Habermann.

It’s a problem that Torres hopes to do her part to solve.

“My biggest dream is just to take it at some point out of the house and make a big daycare where we can take more kids,” she said.

There are currently seven in-home daycare centers in the north country that have been created since 2021 as a result of JCC’s training program.