New TMC learning center offers safe learning environment for children of frontline workers

Updated: Jan. 21, 2021 at 10:36 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - With the rising cost of childcare during the pandemic, many families are in need of help. Especially those working on the frontlines.

In a study done by LendingTree, childcare in Arizona has gone up 84% during the pandemic. The average annual childcare cost in Arizona was $8,213 prior to COVID. During the pandemic, child care costs increased to $15,077.

Now, Tucson Medical Center is providing a new learning environment for children of frontline healthcare workers, just right across the street from the hospital.

This pilot is based on the Higher Ground system Restart SMART (Stronger, Mindful, Agile and Aware, Resilient and Trauma-Responsive). The partnership for the on-campus effort provides a higher level of employee peace-of-mind during the pandemic. It provides educational, emotional and social learning strategies to better support families through the effective Higher Ground learning methodology.

According to the TMC release, students can focus on their schoolwork while they receive the support they need during these challenging times. Leveraging Higher Ground’s expertise in effective childhood learning environments, and much needed coping and trauma recovery skills for children and their families, has created a model environment for the youth.

The program fees are being subsidized by TMC HealthCare.

The cost for a family is $15 per day and includes the use of a private indoor learning area as well as a secure outdoor area. TMC Healthcare was able to revitalize a building for this specific function. Children also receive lunch and snacks daily.

In addition, the Higher Ground program provides one-on-one parent and student resource coordination, parenting strategies, compassion-fatigue coping mechanisms and mental health support to TMC employees with youth participants

The demand for this help surprised CEO and Co-Founder, Jansen Azarias. But it sheds light on the balancing act for frontline workers.

“It’s long hours at work and then you go home and try to help your kids with distance learning it can be really difficult,” said TMC Nurse Practitioner and Nursing Director, Heather Jankowski. “It’s emotionally hard to take care of super sick patients’ day in and day out, every single day, and go home and try to be present with your family. Just by taking this little bit off our plate, it’s really been a godsend.”

At this time, the program is being piloted through May of 2021

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