Most Missionites would not know that this was a business in town unless they had children. Now, more than ever, amid difficult circumstances, daycares being open has become imperative for some. They provide daycare to families that have been deemed an essential service.
From a very young age, Amy Williamson, owner of You Care, We Care Daycare, knew that she wanted to be in the childcare industry.
Growing up with seven siblings, it seemed a natural path to chose and practically an inevitable profession.
“My goal was always to have my own daycare,” she said. “I wanted to raise my family while raising the kids of a community as well.”
So, she started the search for what was to become her very own child care centre.
In the midst of her search, she stumbled upon this particular and already established daycare in the Mission Downtown core and the rest in history. With two young children and another one on the way, Amy’s family and professional dreams all seemed to be falling in to place.
The daycare is currently open and operating during this crisis.
They are willing and able to assist any of the essential service families in our community.
You Care, We Care currently has a licence for 52 children and they have recently seen a sharp decline in the usual daily participation. Families are feeling the effects of unemployment now and as more people are laid off and staring to work from home, the usual hustle and bustle of daycare life is decreasing rapidly.
“Some days we are down to four kids,” she explains. “We have quite a few spaces available for families looking for temporary care.”
The BC government has stepped in with a request that daycare spots are saved for families when normal life resumes.
“We are currently undergoing an expansion and our goal was to have it completed by July,” said Amy.
“Once completed, we will have the capacity to add 74 more kids to our daycare!”
That will bring the license to capacity of 124 children. This also may come as a sigh of relief for parents who face daycare rejection due to no indication of movement, capacity limits and long waitlists.
Amy realizes that each approaching parent has their own unique story and she often finds herself empathizing with each one.
“Often we will move mothers to the top of the list based on what opportunities are presented to them. I try to run my daycare on a case by case basis. Every situation is different and ultimately, we are here to help.”
Although Amy loves her location in the downtown core, it does come with its share of challenges.
“Dealing with the homeless is difficult. The daily struggle of coping with messes can be exhausting and we call non-emergency 5-10 times a week before the daycare even opens,” she admits. “We do everything in our power to protect the children from all of it. They are our top priority.”
“We keep our doors locked at all times. If we are heading outside to the playground, a staff member heads out first to do a walk around and ensure it is free of all debris and garbage.”
Through this all though, Amy keeps a smile on her face and remains positive. She is helping families out and helping to raise a strong community future.
Advice to Mission right now?
“Hang in there. It’s a tough time for everyone. It’s easy to get sucked in to the negativity, but let’s stay positive and help each other out where we can.”