As the parent of a child with a disability, Trista Zettergreen knows the difficulty of finding appropriate after-school care.
But rather than continue to search for child care for her son, Andrew, Zettergreen and her partner, Jeff Teale, are taking a pro-active approach by opening their own daycare that will specialize in caring for children from ages 12 to 18.
“We are a new business that will be specializing in helping parents who have a special needs child at home and are in need of daycare facilities,” said Zettergreen. “At this point, we are asking for input from parents, grandparents or family members who have a child with disabilities that are finding it hard to keep their child occupied and who are in need of some after-school child care while they are working.”
When Zettergreen and Andrew, 12, lived in Salmon Arm, she had daycare in place. But since moving to Vernon in April, she’s found it a challenge.
“It’s been a nightmare,” she said.
Teale, who is a trained care aide, has stepped in and is providing after-school care for Andrew, who is in Grade 6 at Silver Star elementary school.
The couple is busy exploring options for child care space for their new business, Heart to Heart Services, as well as seeing what kind of interest there may be in such a facility.
“We’ve spoken to agencies such as NOYFSS (North Okanagan youth and Family Services Society) and NONA and they have all been very supportive of our idea,” said Teale.
He and Zettergreen hope to be able to offer specialized care in helping with homework, working on socialization skills, aiding in teaching positive personal hygiene skills, and a variety of life skills such as cooking, cleaning and teaching the value of money.
There will be a wide range of outings planned, including activities such as bowling, swimming lessons, weekly trips to the grocery store, park outings depending on weather and recreational activities.
“Andrew has been very enthusiastic and is making lots of suggestions for field trips and outings,” said Zettergreen. “We are encouraging the public to share their input and let us know if you know someone who could benefit from our services and know of different activities that we could be doing to help better assist youth with disabilities.”
For more information on Heart to Heart Services, please call Zettergreen and Teale at 1-778-475-5460 by cell at 250-550-5829 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We look forward to hearing more input on ways to better asisst us in opening the daycare, so please feel free to contact us,” said Zettergreen.