Words by Tess Becker
Finding childcare – especially for kids too young for school – can be time-consuming and expensive in the United States.
According to the World Population Review, daycare costs can be as expensive as $1,200 a month on average. In a climate where more and more families have both parents working, or a large number of single parents, an extra $14,000 bill every year can be nearly impossible.
This was a problem California company Bitchin’ Sauce saw... and they wanted to help their employees avoid it altogether. In came Bitchin’ Kids, a daycare program at the company that was completely free to employees.
“Our owner and the CEO, Starr Edwards, [loves children]; you can always find her with her kids behind her, no matter what," Ashley Hawkins, the Director of Childcare at Bitchin’ Kids tells Smiley News. “So about three years ago, they were saying how Starr needed someone to start an onsite employee daycare.
“Her vision was to have an onsite employee daycare for all of the other people working in manufacturing to sales to marketing, so they could have their children on site for free and being taken care of.”
The program launched 3 years ago with just Ashley at the helm and a few kids in her care. Now there are four different employees and children ranging from nearly newborn all the way up to 14 years old. The program ended up getting so big, it ended up taking up nearly an entire building at the Bitchin’ Sauce headquarters.
With the kids being so close, they feel like they’re helping create a sense of community.
“I go to other daycares sometimes or have seen other atmospheres and it's completely different here,” Ashley says. “It's like we're very much a family. We have another part of our Bitchin’ Sauce team called Bitchin’ Given so we have volunteer time off every Friday, and so the kids participate in that with their parents every Friday, so that's really fun.”
Bitchin’ Kids offers educational services, too, like kinder readiness programs and tutoring opportunities to help kids in school.
They don’t want the kids of remote employees to feel left out either making special notes for their birthdays or sending out things like ice cream and presents. In general, the kids in the program have really loved it according to Ashley.
“Just from what the parents tell us some kids that have to go to school now get really upset when they have to go to school and not to Bitchin’,” Ashley says. “The parents love it. I know but just because they keep having more kids and keep coming back to work.”