The Nest in Bowling Green Offers Free Childcare for Students in Need

In 2018, The Nest opened in Bowling Green, offering free childcare to parents enrolled in school. Located within ten minutes of Bowling Green State University, it offers childcare for children ages six weeks to five years old. Services are open to all parents, whether they are attending high school, college, trade school or interning.

While working as client service director at the Pregnancy Center in Bowling Green,Tiffany Crain, who now serves as executive director of The Nest, realized students needed more options, particularly after an unplanned pregnancy. While walking through the former Agape Church of Prayer, she envisioned turning the church into a childcare center. 

“It was hard to meet with a young woman who had an unplanned pregnancy and reassure her that God would provide a way for her and her baby,” Crain shares. “Not because I didn’t

Utilizing The Nest’s services helped Yetunde graduate with her Master’s Degree from BGSU in the midst of entering motherhood.

believe that He could, but because I know that feels like an empty promise when you’re [the one faced with the challenge].” Speaking from personal and professional experience, Crain is familiar with the difficulties of choosing to parent before she intended, so she was motivated to eliminate this barrier. 

The Nest offers childcare Monday-Friday from 7am-5pm. Until recently, their capacity was only six children. The Nest has recently been licensed by the state of Ohio and is now able to care for 12 children at one time. They are excited to have increased availability and looking to fill these spots.

Children are provided breakfast, two snacks and lunch. A strong emphasis is placed on healthy snacks and meals for the kids. Dietetic students from BGSU are often involved in planning meals and snacks. The kids spend their days working on art, storytime, drama and free play. There are three teachers on staff and a separate area for preschool aged children to begin their education. All volunteers are certified. The children also get to enjoy a natural playscape as well as help care for gardens. “They love helping with and harvesting the gardens,” says Crain. “They get to enjoy the fruits and vegetables they grow.” 

With the hope of encouraging literacy and at-home bonding, there are shelves full of books for parents to choose from, enabling them to read to their kids at home if trips to the library are not  possible. 

Services do not just relieve a financial burden for parents; they also provide holistic support. The Nest has a “Parent Room” where  parents are able to study, take online tests, complete assignments, and receive tutoring and academic support as needed.

Weekly Parent Meetings are held to build community amongst parents who are facing similar challenges, also incentivizing them to develop life skills such as financial management. Parents are asked to volunteer two hours per week as it fits their schedule. While The Nest’s mission statement is “to serve families with the love of Christ by providing free childcare for parents completing their education,” no one is denied services based on their religious beliefs.

The Nest is a registered 501(c)(3) whose funding is provided by regular donors and an annual fundraiser held by USA Today. They receive the majority of their donations from local churches, businesses and individuals. 

Parents or expecting parents can apply for free childcare by completing the application  at thenestbg.com

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