By Rosa Peleaz

I am a registered family child care provider in Ward 4. When COVID-19 hit, I was immediately out of work and have been for over two months. It was not easy to become a registered family home provider because I speak only Spanish, but because I am passionate about caring for young children, I did it. But all that hard work was devastated when I suddenly lost all my families.

Pandemic Pivot

So, when Many Languages, One Voice called me to support me to build a mutual aid group, I was able to quickly reach out to over 20 families. I built a database, a group chat, and began to see what struggles families with young children were facing during the pandemic. They were totally desperate. People had no food, no Pampers, no baby gates.

Our group of 30 families in Brightwood Babies and Mamas helped each other get through the pandemic. Rosa and I delivered food, thermometers, and pampers. The emotional support of a group of parents with young children was so important to not feel overwhelmed with despair. Rosa is part of the invisible network of support that helps single moms like me work and take care of our families. I don’t want her to be invisible.

Vilma, member of Brightwood Babies and Mamas

Starting a Child Care Business

Currently, I am starting up my business. It is hard. I need disinfectant. Lots of it. I need supplies. I just started caring for two infants, but the families have such drastically different lives—it is like a tale of two cities. One’s parents were able to telework. Meanwhile, the other’s mother; has had no work for over eight weeks. She is a restaurant worker, and she has only recently picked up some part-time work. I’ve chosen to care for her children FOR FREE for over two weeks to help her get back on her feet. Because of the lack of government support, the burden of helping families is financially falling on me. I have a big heart, but this shouldn’t fall on me.

Translated from Spanish.

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Rosa Peleaz is a Registered Family Provider at Brightwood.