Whelan center waitlist grows
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 28, 2012 17:09
Loyola’s daycare center has a line longer than most night clubs.
The Whelan Children’s Center, located in Mercy Hall, is a small daycare mainly serving the Loyola community of students, faculty and staff with limited availability to the greater New Orleans community.
Since Katrina, the waiting list for the center has remained near 100 children with only a slight increase in this past year. The center has a capacity that is limited to 62 children.
Due to the fact that late summer and early fall are the times of heaviest enrollment, the size of the waiting list, as well as the amount of time a child spends on the list, can vary greatly. Robin Oubre, the Whelan Center’s director, said that some children are “on the waiting list for over a year.”
The waiting list gives priority to Loyola students first, faculty and staff second and outside community members third. Availability varies depending on which age groups are most in demand.
Because of the size and previously informal nature of the waiting list, The Whelan Children’s Center elected to make some changes to the wait listing process. In the past, the center would put children on the waitlist via an informal online submission or a verbal agreement. “We’ve streamlined it into one application. It makes it more manageable on our side, and it hopefully helps the parents too because it ensures that they’re getting the proper information,” Oubre said.
But the uncertainty of the waiting list doesn’t seem to deter parents. Terri and John Gallaway, both Loyola staff members, whose 16-month-old daughter Matilda is enrolled in Whelan Children’s Center, said they put her on the waiting list when Terri was four months pregnant. “It’s the best care in the city, with the best [student to teacher] ratios,” said Terri.
Taylor Glasco, father of four-year-old Sal, added that he and his wife were especially drawn to Whelan because of the involvement of student teachers.
In Oubre’s opinion, the success of the center is due to its “loving, nurturing environment.”
Oubre said that the center has “a good sense of community, and that’s something we pride ourselves on.”
Olivia Burns can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org