By Avri Zmuda
CCC Journalism Program
Camden County College offers amenities the college says can help parents with tuition, childcare, groceries and stress management while they finish their education.
“We have a number of scholarships specifically for parents. The two on the top of my head are the Madlyn Thompson Memorial Scholarship and the Gretchen Rogers Memorial Scholarship,” said Melissa Daly, development associate.
“We try to service the students as best we can. We do everything we can, if we know about it,” said Jacqueline Tenuto, assistant dean for student development and support. If they need “mental health support, they can come through me. We have a food pantry they can visit once a month and an emergency textbook fund. If a mother needs a quiet place to pump, they would come to me, and we accommodate them for however long they would need to use the facilities.”
She said a list of student perks is on the college website, camdencc.edu.
However, not many parents know about these amenities, but know only about the daycare center, Kiddie Junction, on the Blackwood campus. The daycare center operates from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Zenaida Cruz, a 30-year-old mother of three returning to school to become a surgical technician, said she does not take advantage of the daycare center but does take advantage of the ability to choose her schedule.
“I live an hour away,” Cruz said. “I do everything Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.”
Like Cruz, Kerri Cabral, a 37-year-old mother of one studying liberal arts and sciences, said flexible scheduling matters to her.
“I can choose my own schedule, and there’s evening classes,” Cabral said. “I usually put all my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I’ll be in school from morning to evening. (This) allows me to work Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but not always on Sunday.”
She said after she gets home from work around 7 p.m., she studies some more.
Recently opened food pantries on the Blackwood and Camden campuses have helped new and returning students with their grocery needs, said Judy Peak, food pantry coordinator.
“One hundred thirty-three students registered this year to the food pantry, totaling to 273 students we serve since we opened in October,” Peak said.
She stated the college is hoping to expand the pantry by adding more perishable foods, such as meat and produce.
The food pantry on the Blackwood campus is open from noon to 2 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays. The food pantry on the Camden campus is open from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Peak said she believes the food pantries, along with the other amenities the college provides, particularly help single mothers in need.
“One particular mother (I’ve served), who has four children, came back to school to set a good example for her children,” Peak said.