Davis High School Opens Childcare Center on Campus for Young Moms - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Davis High School Opens Childcare Center on Campus for Young Moms

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Yakima, WA -  AC Davis High School is taking another step in a comprehensive plan to improve graduation rates.  School administrators opened a childcare center this fall.  The hope is that having a childcare facility on campus will help young moms stay in school.  

20-year-old Maria Vasquez spends a few minutes before lunch reading to her two-year-old son Mario. 

"I wanted to come back, but I was a little confused and worried about my son," says Vasquez.

She dropped out a year and a half ago, but decided to enroll at AC Davis High School this fall, when she heard about the new childcare center.

"I think we're the only comprehensive high school, at least in our area, that provides this type of service," says Lee Maras, the school's principal.

Right now seven young mothers are using the childcare center.  It's located in a small classroom inside the C-building on campus.  School administrators say the idea has been in the works for three years, all in an effort to cut down on dropouts.  Many were young mothers.

"We're really pleased with the implementation of the program," says Maras, "We're really excited that we have an opportunity to help young mothers who are high school age students.  We think it's the right thing to do for our kids." 

Vasquez says she likes knowing that her son is close by.  She spends her lunch hour with him.  They also take a childcare class together, but when they can't be together, she knows he's in good hands.

"The teachers take care of him," she says.

Vasquez is slated to graduate in the spring.

The school's principal says the childcare center is totally self-sufficient.  It's funded through the Yakima School District's vocational program.  Students interested in childcare take classes and actually work there.  Twelve students are working with two instructors right now.