Right to Life launches babysitting service for parenting graduate students
Kara Miecznikowski | Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Notre Dame’s Right to Life Club now sponsors a free daycare service for the University’s parenting graduate students. Once a week, graduate students with children are able to take a break from parenting and use this valuable time to study, work, run errands or purely have some time to themselves. Meanwhile, trained students from their own community will care for their children — and it’s completely free.
This option aims to alleviate the burden of parents who are pursuing graduate studies, the Right to Life Club’s babysitting commissioner and sophomore Lorenzo Beer said.
“Raising a child is hard enough,” Lorenzo Beer said. “Raising a child while being a graduate student requires superpowers.”
This babysitting service is currently in its third week of operation, Beer said. He said he played an integral role in the development of this project, as he believes in its mission.
“I personally have been working constantly over the last year with administration and the University to meet the standards and requirements to get this program approved,” he said.
Students must undergo a background check and attend a child care training session before volunteering, Beer said, which informs participants of the logistics of the program, reviews safety concerns and provides childcare instructions. Over 80 students have expressed interest in volunteering, and around 30 have been trained to do so, he said.
“Last week, the service provided daycare for about 11 children, coming from five different families,” he said. “We can’t wait to see this number grow in the near future as we reach out to graduate students on campus to let them know of our service.”
The Right to Life Club created the Child Care Service to support those who choose life, not only for the unborn, but also for the suffering, Beer said.
“The Right to Life’s mission is to promote and uphold the sanctity of all human life from conception until natural death through prayer, service and education,” he said. “The Child Care Service is a direct, concrete action of the Right to Life Club to showcase the love the pro-life movement has for those who choose life.”
The pro-life movement is often criticized for having “tunnel vision” on the abortion debate by disregarding the support that women need post-birth, Beer said. The Right to Life Club wants to refute these criticisms and show the universality of what it means to be pro-life, from conception until natural death, he said.
“[The] club realizes and understands the difficulty of choosing life, but we know it is the greatest gift of humanity,” he said. “For that reason, we want to serve those who choose life, and what better way to do so than helping those right here on campus in our community.”
Right to Life president Sarah Drumm said this service align’s with the club’s fundamental mission.
“We strive to recognize, promote, and celebrate the dignity of all human life, especially the most vulnerable,” she said. “Parenting students are in a particularly difficult situation – it’s a hard job. I can’t imagine raising a child on top of all of the academic and extracurricular work I have to do as a student.”
Drumm said she hopes parenting graduate students take advantage of this service.
“We recognize that our once-a-week child care service isn’t going to dramatically improve the lives of parenting students,” she said. “However, we do hope that the little we do somehow can make their workload a little lighter and their jobs as parents a little easier, at least for a few hours a week.”