Barbara Louis, 29, a native of Haiti who came to the United States four years ago, attributes a large part of her ability to graduate with an Associate in Arts degree last May to a little heralded program at the College called Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS).
Louis said the program enabled her to devote quality time to her studies, supported her throughout the school year and, most importantly, provided safe, reliable day care for her 21-month-old son, Deandre, while she tended to her studies. “The CCAMPIS staff care about what you are doing,” she said. “They know you are going to school, and they try to encourage you.”
Louis was one of 52 CCAMPIS student-parents recognized on May 12 in a ceremony in the Great Hall in the Winnet Building. Funded by a $1 million, four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the CCAMPIS program provides up to $500 per month in child care expenses for student-parents who meet the program’s guidelines. Stipends can be applied to child care at the Child Development Center near the Main Campus or to an accredited child care center near a student’s home. The stipend covers up to 36 weeks of child care during the academic year, and it continues through the summer depending on availability of funds, according to Claudia Curry, director of the College’s Women’s Center and CCAMPIS project director.
“The program makes sure it takes care of your number one concern, your child. I had a wonderful experience with the program. Before the program, I missed class because I had to stay with my baby,” Louis said in one of the many testimonials the students wrote expressing thanks to the program. A Culture, Science and Technology major with a 3.2 grade point average, Louis plans to transfer to Holy Family University and major in Nursing. Nine other CCAMPIS student-parents also graduated from the College on May 9.
At the CCAMPIS recognition ceremony, Ronald Jackson, the College’s Dean of Students, told the students that he knows what it takes to complete school while raising a child because his mother put herself through college while raising him and his two brothers. “It encouraged me and all of my brothers to go on and achieve,” Jackson said.
Clinton Connor, director of the Child Development Center, said his mother also put herself through school while raising him. “As an individual, I really appreciate the CCAMPIS program,” Connor said.
Many of the students singled out Curry for her helpfulness. Hope Saunders-Gianna said the program and the support that Curry provided helped her complete her Liberal Arts studies at the College, then transfer with a 3.89 grade point average into the University of Pennsylvania, where she is majoring in Urban Studies. After graduation in 2011, she plans to attend George Washington University’s Law School in Washington, D.C., to pursue a degree in International Children’s Rights and Education Law.
“Parent-students are the unsung heroes of going to school,” Saunders-Gianna said in her welcoming remarks to the CCAMPIS students at the recognition ceremony. “Our pursuit of education while raising a family has been done with style and grace.”
For more information or to apply for CCAMPIS, contact Claudia Curry at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-751-8828.