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Hudson Valley Community College Receives Grant To Aid Viking Child Care Center

CONTACT: Jeff Foley or Sarah Boggess (518) 629-8071
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Friday, September 29, 2000

Hudson Valley Community College's Viking Child Care Center recently received a $562,131 state grant for its new on-campus facility, which should be operational by May 2001. Hudson Valley president John Buono said the grant, jointly administered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and the Dormitory Authority of New York State (DANSY), will be used for construction and related fees, for the purchase of new playground equipment, fencing and surfacing, landscaping and office, kitchen and classroom equipment.

Nearly $15 million in child care grants were recently announced in New York State, given to 25 not-for-profit organizations for the construction or renovation of child care centers and school age child care facilities. It is anticipated that the grants will create 3,127 new child care slots for low-income families.

Currently, 91 percent of the Viking Child Care Center's students come from low-income families.

"In our current location, the maximum capacity for our core program is 46 children," said Ann Carrozza, executive director of the Faculty Student Association (FSA) at Hudson Valley, which oversees the Viking Child Care Center. "So there's always a long waiting list. In the new location, we'll be able to expand that program to include 110 children."

"Sometimes families who are fighting to end their dependence on public assistance need a little help," said Willie Hammett, Hudson Valley's vice president for student services and president of the FSA. "It's important that we provide low-income families with the assistance they need to make the transition to independence. The Viking Child Care Center is a helping hand."

Opened in 1986, the Viking Child Care Center provides safe, affordable, high-quality child care to Hudson Valley students, focusing on helping their children develop and prepare for kindergarten. By providing affordable care and education for children, the center allows student parents to pursue a college education and training that will lead to greater career opportunities in the future.

"Time and time again, parents have told us they wouldn't have been able to attend college without the Viking Child Care Center," Carrozza said. "We have every type of parent at Hudson Valley – single parents, working parents, displaced workers raising children while they try to switch careers – and it's nice to know they have a place to put their children while they work toward bettering themselves."

There are 163 licensed Capital District child care centers; the Viking Child Care Center is one of just six accredited by the National Association of the Education of Young Children. In 1998, the center also embarked on a collaboration with CEO-Head Start, allowing children to be dually enrolled and attain additional services.

"We're expanding in order to continue providing the best service possible to our students," Buono said. "We want them to feel comfortable pursuing an education. We want them to succeed. So while this grant helps us, ultimately it really helps our students."

The center receives approximately three inquiries a week from parents in need of child care. The new facility will enable the center to increase its overall enrollment from 71 to 135 children, aged six weeks to 12 years. In addition, the center will accept a limited number of community and faculty children.

"We have a great program here," Carrozza said. "Now more people will benefit from it."

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions; Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, Hudson Valley has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining.