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#226 Christina Chase, Student
(Business Student; McCarthy Center Mom)

Although I am still a student, I can see how College of the Desert has steered my life in the right direction. When I first stepped foot on the campus, I felt so hopeless as I was already a single mom and didn't know how I could possibly go to school with small children. I never dreamed there would be a "daycare" I could trust and afford. Well, at COD there is a gem called the McCarthy Child Development Center. I was so relieved the moment I walked in and looked around. I didn't feel like I was in a classroom or daycare, it was like a second home for the children. The toddlers can explore everything and be comfortable just like at home. They were nurtured by loving teachers and assistants. They were served healthy food made from scratch and with loving hands; not processed cafeteria food. Everything about the Center left me feeling at ease.

I met with a counselor, who helped me figure out a plan to accomplish my goals of earning an accounting certificate. Everywhere on campus I went, people were there to help me. As a single mom with limited resources, I found so many doors opening rather than closing. I qualified for grants for child care, books and even money to help pay the bills. With COD's versatile schedule and online courses I was able to arrange my schedule to fit mine and my children's needs.

I have hit some major bumps in the road. My youngest son was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a fatal disease. It caused me to have to take a break in my studies to get a grip with the complicated care regiment that now rules our life. I thought for sure this was the end of my ability to get care for my son and the end of my education. But once again, Diane Russom at the McCarthy Child Development Center has opened up yet another door for me! My son came back to the center as a four year old for preschool. Tiffany, the amazing chef at the Center, prepares my son his own meals based on his strict diet. His unbelievably reliable teacher, Miss Claudia, administers him several medications a day with the efficiency of a nurse! And the children are all supportive in all of his extra needs without poking fun at him, because it has all been handled so perfectly. The Center also hired me as a student worker in the office where I am learning and earning and preparing myself for the years to follow.

I have one semester left at COD until my goals have all been accomplished. Because of my opportunity to work in an office in addition to having some amazing teachers like Rizzo, Hall, George, Johnson and Leushner I have learned so much. Thank you COD!