United Way of Northern Arizona — Partner Update: Quality Connections Launches QCKids

| February 9, 2021
Partner Update:
Quality Connections Launches QCKids
Hello ,
Quality Connections, a United Way of Northern Arizona partner agency, recently opened up a child care program called QCKids at its offices in East Flagstaff. However, as with many things in the era of Covid-19, the launch wasn’t quite what they expected.
At first blush, operating child care services might seem a little off-brand for the nonprofit, whose mission is to help adults with disabilities become more independent through employment opportunities, job training and practical life learning programs.
QCKids, however, was designed to align with the organization’s goals as it would provide training for Quality Connection clients who wanted to explore careers in child care. The added benefit was the new service would be targeted to underserved populations – low-income families and those with children who have disabilities.
Using a grant from UWNA, QC purchased equipment and furniture and were on the cusp of opening when the pandemic hit. Quality Connections closed down its offices and the child care plans were put on hold.
Fast forward to this past summer, when Quality Connections reopened and started providing more in-person services and training again. They discovered that starting QCKids was now a necessity; several employees, including vital job coaches who provide one-on-one counseling to clients, couldn’t do their jobs because they didn’t have child care.
Now about 10 children of Quality Connections employees are receiving child care, two clients are getting invaluable hands-on training, and the nonprofit can more forward with its mission to help those with disabilities achieve greater independence.
“It’s a win-win-win,” said Co-founder Armando Bernasconi.
Quality Connections has developed extensive daily screening protocols for staff, clients and the children in QCKids to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Bernasconi said. These include temperature checks and strict disinfecting procedures.
For right now, it is uncertain when QCKids will open up to the larger community. The biggest constraint, said Bernasconi, is space. On the other hand, he said, demand in the community for these services is high.
“Child care centers operate on a very slim margin,” he said. “I’m worried some of them won’t be able to weather being closed for several months and won’t open back up. I’m going to let the need dictate our next move.”
Donations to United Way help local community programs and initiatives like QCKids. Please join us and Step Up for our community today.
1515 E. Cedar Ave. Suite D-1 Flagstaff, AZ 86004
928-773-9813 nazunitedway.org

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