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NEWS NEWS: RISE offers child care workers and parents support...

6/22/2022 On a recent morning at Cheryl's Kiddz Family Child Care Learning Center, several of Cheryl's Odom's students were ready to switch gears.

After spending some time drawing and playing with blocks at Odom's day care center in her home in the Shady Lane neighborhood on Columbus' East Side, the kids were ready to get into "the kitchen."

"What are we doing now? We're gonna cook!"  Odom, known as "Ms. Sherri," said, referring to the play kitchen in the room.

Meanwhile, 5-year-old Ayoka Scott sat quietly at the table, drawing multi-colored hearts.

"She's good," Odom, 55, said. "She can write her name, her numbers, the alphabet. She's ready for college."

While Ayoka is now prepared to go off to kindergarten, there was a time when she was going to be taken out of child care, said her mother, Lakeshia Caldwell. The East Side resident was already paying $300 a week in day care for Ayoka and would have to pay another $300 for her then three month-old Ayah.

Caldwell, 32, applied for child care funding assistance through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services' Publicly Funded Child Care (PFCC) program, but was denied because she made $100 over the limit.

However, she was able to receive a scholarship to help pay for her day care costs through the Franklin County RISE program. The initiative provides early learning scholarships, incentive pay for child care programs and rental assistance for child care workers who have been underpaid.


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