Some of you already know from my tweets almost 2 months ago. Others I've talked to about it. And now it's really here. 2 more days. June 30th.
I have tutored at this place called the Learning Center for almost 5 years now. The little girls who were brand-new kindergartners when I started, just completed 4th grade. And I've watched their younger siblings come through the program now too.
We found out at the beginning of May that our funding for the next year was being completely cut. Our fiscal year runs from July 1- June 30. So as of June 30, 2009, we have no more state funding.
We run completely on state funding. Without it, we have very few options. So for now, we close our doors. We close them for the residents who live in the low-income housing there. We close them to the kids who come after school every day for homework help and tutoring. We close our doors to all the kids who come every summer afternoon for learning, fun, snacks, games, and field trips. Things they would never have the opportunity to do without us there.
If you'd like to read a little more about the Learning Center, I blogged about it a while back. (The photos are outdated, because we moved into our new rooms right after those were taken. Too bad we only got to use them for a few months.)
I know I've had some ups and downs there lately. So it is a bit bittersweet for me to be losing my "job". But it has been a job for almost 5 years.
I was substitute teaching when I started work here. The director is a friend that I'd known for a while from church. She actually talked me into taking the job. I was able to come when I got done subbing at various schools. I was allowed 10 hours a week, and it worked very well with my schedule after school.
That first summer something new happened, I got pregnant. I was so busy being sick and in the hospital for a short time, that I took a few months off. When I was feeling better and school started up again, I went back. I worked my 10 hours a week (not subbing anymore) right up until I had Zachariah.
After that I took 2 months off, and then went right back to my 10 hours a week (2+ hours a day after school Monday-Thursday). And best of all I had Zachariah by my side each afternoon. It was a perfect way to be a stay at home mom, and still earn a little extra money.
Zachariah grew up there. When we started becoming mobile, I brought along the pack&play. He had toys there to play with and books to read. And the older he got, the better he interacted with the kids. Usually kids who were done with their homework would sit and play with him for a while.
Now Zachariah will read with them and participate in activities when he can. The kids all know how to treat him, and they all watch out for him as well.
On one hand, I didn't like my day being broken up by having to leave the house almost every afternoon. But it was a little extra money for my family, so it was a good solution. We were using the extra money to pay off my student loans. And we were making good headway.
I will miss the Learning Center. Zachariah will miss it more. It's all he's ever known. Every afternoon we go to "work". It's part of his life. Up until a week ago, he had no idea that I got paid to do it.
I am still friends with the director, and I will be sad to not see her as much. And there is one other person who I've grown to adore. Ronnie has become a great friend, and she is completely smitten with Zachariah. We will definitely keep in touch with her, and we'll miss seeing her often.
We will miss the income. But Matt & I are glad that I'll be able to be a stay at home mom like we've always wanted. Yes, it will be a little harder on our budget, but we can live with it. We're thankful for Matt's good job and his raise he got at the beginning of the year. We can hope for another raise soon. And I will look for little ways to earn some extra money. I will probably advertise for private tutoring in the fall. And there may be some other opportunities.
I am thrilled that I don't have to plan my days around after school programs. And I know that it will allow Zachariah and I to do more things we'd like to do.
So here begins a new adventure in my life. Our last day is June 30th. We'll have a picnic and a chance to say goodbye to the kids. I'm glad I had this opportunity in my life. It has changed me in so many ways.