I never thought I would be working at a non-profit child care policy center in New Haven this summer, but here I am! All Our Kin is where I will be spending the next 7 weeks. Wow, it has most definitely been a ride.
Let me quickly explain my journey to you: this past semester during Shopping Period (a week-long interval when students shop classes to see which ones they will take during the semester) I was surfing Yale CourseTable, a site that allows students to search classes. I simply searched the word ‘policy,’ and a seminar titled, ‘EDST 225: Child Care, Society & Policy’ popped up. I decided to shop the class and I fell in love with the professors, Jessica Sager and Janna Wagner (who are the co-founders of All Our Kin!). I can honestly say that taking this class was the best decision I have made at Yale thus far.
After I had been in the class for a couple of weeks, I decided to apply for a summer fellowship through the Yale Law School. The fellowship allows undergraduate students at Yale to pursue internships in the arena of public interest law. I fortunately received the fellowship to work at All Our Kin, and so far it has been an amazing experience.
In summary, All Our Kin is a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization that trains, supports, and sustains family child care providers to ensure that children and families have the foundation they need to succeed in school and in life. Across Connecticut, the demand for child care exceeds available licensed slots by nearly 20,000, leaving thousands of children, particularly our youngest, most underserved children, without access to licensed care. I cannot stress how crucial the work that this organization performs is. Here at AOK, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some darn-near perfectly amazing staff members who put their entire selves into the advocacy work that they do here.
Being in New Haven in the summer has been wonderful so far: I’ve gotten to see the city through a different lens for what it truly is. This past weekend, I was able to assist with AOK’s annual conference. At the conference, about 200 of the child care providers AOK assists were present. I witnessed women, primarily low-income women of color, who have sacrificed largely to educate and care for children here in CT: they take low salaries and often do not receive the proper respect for their work but they were singing, and laughing, and hugging. It was such a touching sight, not only because of how overjoyed they were to be there but because of how piercing their resilience was in that room.
New Haven is amazing. All Our Kin is profound. Child care providers are incredible.