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Licensed day care launched at new Portsmouth Student Center

Board books about ladybugs and dragons, puzzles of all varieties and brilliant colors that glisten in the sunlight await at the first licensed Tidewater Community College Child Development Center housed in the student center on the Portsmouth Campus.

Three more centers are planned over the next year on all of TCC’s campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. All of the centers are in partnership with the YWCA South Hampton Roads.

“The partnership with the YWCA is a wonderful opportunity to put two community agencies together with a shared mission, and that is to find proper care for our children that will allow our students to pursue their education,” President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani said at the Jan. 9 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center.

YWCA executive director Ruth T. Jones noted, “We are laying the foundation today for a fearless future that can only be accomplished with community partnerships.”

The ceremony closed with words from TCC student Molly Feanny, who has already enrolled her 3-year-old son at the center. Feanny, a nontraditional student embarking on a second career in health care, takes a full slate of classes in addition to working in the science lab on the Portsmouth Campus.

“It’s a blessing,” she said. “Without this option, I would not be able to come to college and be the person I know I could be.”

Bright orange and blue walls along with child-sized tables and chairs that put staff at the same level as children provide a warm welcome to the center, located on the first floor of the student center. Educational books, games and toys are plentiful, largely thanks to an $8,500 donation made in honor of Mary Ruth Clowdsley of Portsmouth. Mary Ruth Clowdsley, a longtime supporter of TCC and former board member for the YWCA South Hampton Roads, co-wrote the grant to start the Women’s Center.
The TCC Child Development Center will provide full- and part-day care at rates based on family income. The center will serve primarily TCC students, but faculty and staff, as well as community members and TCC vendors, are eligible to enroll their children on a space-available basis. Hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. for children 2 ½ to 5 years of age, with after-school and drop-in care available for children up to age 12.

Students in TCC’s early childhood education program will also benefit from the new partnership, using the child care centers as learning labs.

Parents who want more information can visit the Child Development Center website at