• Hannah Kamath

Calling All Childcare Providers In Powderhorn!

Updated: 5 days ago

Kelsey, a passionate and experienced child care provider is starting up a new Community Interest Group for providers in and around the neighborhood.

Community Interest Groups are one of the ways that PPNA seeks to engage with the community about issues that they care about. Any group of folks in the neighborhood (who live, work or own property in Powderhorn) can sign up, answer a few short questions each month and be entered to win $250! Learn more about PPNA Community Interest Groups here.


We were thrilled to connect with Kelsey about her work, inspiration, and visions for the group in the interview below.


Tell me about your background and experience with the childcare crisis and hurdles families are facing in Powderhorn.

I’ve been caring for children around Minneapolis for the past five years, as I worked through graduate school at the University of Minnesota. When my boyfriend and I bought a house in Powderhorn, I was so thrilled to hear so many children playing around our house, and to see so many families around the park. But I wondered how families in our community were caring for their children through the pandemic. I know we have wonderful centers around us in our community—the Family Partnership and Pillsbury House Early Education Center among them. But not all families have needs that can be met through care centers.

I knew from the national media and anecdotal experience that families were experiencing a crisis in childcare. With job loss and illness during the pandemic, as well as school closures, it’s been hard for many families to figure out how to give high-quality care to their children while also managing other responsibilities and stresses. But I wasn’t sure how that was playing out in Powderhorn. It worried me, and I wanted to understand what was going on in our new neighborhood and if there was a way I could help.


What are you proposing to bring people together to address this issue?

I love living in Powderhorn because our neighbors chat in the Park, on the street, and in the line for Mayday coffee on weekend mornings. But having a dedicated space to talk through our community’s childcare needs feels vital to me. I hope childcare workers around Powderhorn will be able to talk about their needs and emotions, but also practical issues.


Does someone need a substitute? Is there a new family with a childcare need that should be met? Is someone in search of culturally appropriate care for their child?

And for families, I want there to be a place where we can share resources and talk about making childcare affordable for them. Maybe families with similar schedules would be interested in a nanny-share to reduce costs. (Affordable childcare is a HUGE issue around here and also around the country, but in my opinion, it won’t be solved on its own or through the open marketplace. It will take community action to figure out how to pool resources, pay care workers living wages with healthcare options, and provide high-quality, reliable care to families who need it).


How can people connect with you and get involved?

Sign up for our Slack Channel here or contact Kelsey at kelseydonk@gmail.com. Now that I’m fully vaccinated (woo!) I think it would be wonderful to meet up in the park.


What inspired you to take actions to address this issue?

At the start of the pandemic, I was caring for children from two households. As panic started to rise surrounding the pandemic, I started to feel really overwhelmed and alone. There were so many professional and financial questions for me that I hadn’t faced before, and I also needed to figure out how to calm the children. What was supposed to happen if I got sick? If they got sick? How should I navigate my own safety while also meeting my financial needs and the families’ care needs? It was a lot to handle for me—as I think it was for every person who was caring for children at the time or who’s been caring for children in the past year.

Being a private childcare worker can feel isolating at times. We don’t have a union or professional conferences where everyone can get together and chat. Who knows how other nannies handled those questions at the start of the pandemic! Not me! And that’s a bummer.

What a gift it would be to be able to talk with other people interested in the care we give to the children around us, as a community.


Learn more about PPNA Community Interest Groups and sign up your group here.

Childcare Providers, sign up for this group here or contact Kelsey at kelseydonk@gmail.com.


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