Hami Kitsuda was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
She was 22, had just given birth to her first child, and though she had a background in political science and experience teaching, she did not make enough money to afford the soaring costs of child care. How could she continue her career and reach her goals while balancing the needs of her family? How could she possibly afford to send her child to daycare while she worked?
For a few years, Hami balanced being a stay-at-home parent while taking her kids to part-time child care so they would meet and interact with other kids, but she knew there had to be another way.
That’s when Hami had an idea that changed the trajectory of her life.
Fifteen years later, she has three children and a thriving family child care business. The business not only allows her to provide her own children and the children in her care with quality education, love, and a safe place to develop foundational skills—it also means she can support her community and her family while advancing her career and reaching her goals.
Over the years, she has researched extensively to find resources that help her best prepare the kids in her care for a bright and successful future. She is a state-rated provider and is active in various programs that help track her kids’ benchmarks. For Hami, it’s not just about the best care possible but setting the foundation for her children’s bright futures.
“My favorite part about being a child care provider is that I am helping shape who they are and making them strong and self-sufficient,” says Hami.
Hami loves seeing her kids make progress every day, from something as simple as correctly placing the nose on the Potato Head to learning how to tie their shoes, write their names, and identify their colors, shapes, and letters. Long-term these are the tools and skills that will help the children in kindergarten and beyond.
Every day is an opportunity to help the kids grow—and growing also means playing, running, climbing, and sometimes breaking things or overusing them—all of which impact the wear and tear of any child care. That’s why Hami was ecstatic when she heard about Child Care Providers United’s (CCPU-UDW) win for supplemental pay earlier this year.
She was looking forward to receiving some extra funds to replace some of the supplies in her child care, so she attended CCPU-UDW trainings to learn about the qualifications and paperwork needed and applied immediately. Regardless of the resources and knowledge of her rights as a child care provider, she was instantly met with obstacles.
Hami turned in all the required paperwork three times and kept being rejected. She tried calling time after time to get things sorted and even turned in additional proof of the care hours she had provided, but all to no avail. It wasn’t until she reached out to CCPU-UDW that she saw progress!
Only two days after reaching out to our union, she received a notification saying she officially qualified to receive the small license supplemental pay—a total of $8,000!
These funds will allow Hami to replace supplies that are key to the kids’ success. It means more books, educational toys, and simply more resources to help the kids thrive. In addition to the supplemental pay, Hami is also awaiting Child Care and Development Infrastructure Grant Program funds—another resource CCPU-UDW helped members access—that will allow her to expand the paved area in her backyard and add shade so that the children can ride their bikes and play freely.
Hami is looking forward to continuing to grow and learn herself. She is hoping to return to school to pursue a bachelor’s in child development and expand on the knowledge she’s gathered after so many years in the field.
“I keep learning because if you want to teach children, you have to educate yourself and keep learning. As I’m teaching them, they are teaching me,” Hami says.
Supplemental Pay is one of many victories CCPU-UDW has secured over the recent years—but it’s all because of the power behind each one of our fierce members. Members like Hami who act when called to make our victories possible! We have much more to win to improve our rights, protections, and benefits as child care providers, and we challenge you to TAKE ACTION!
Visit udw.org/get-involved to learn how you can help us secure our next big win.