SUU Welcomes Center for Hope Director Kristy DeGraaf

Published: September 21, 2020 | Author: Kenzie Lundberg | Read Time: 2 minutes

Center for Hope Director Kristy DegraafSouthern Utah University’s Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center for Hope would like to welcome Director Kristy DeGraaf. Officially opened at the beginning of September, the Center for Hope provides an innovative and efficient facility offering quality and affordable on-campus child care, preschool lab, and parent and family support.

“What was once a residence for a few will now be a place of learning for many,” said SUU First Lady Kathy Wyatt, who spearheaded the development of the facility. “This new center eases the burden for student-parents who were struggling with the expense of providing care for their children. Thanks to the vision and help from many people, this new center has come to fruition.”

DeGraaf joins the center staff after previously serving as a social service worker for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services and operating a child care program for the past 12 years. She earned both a bachelor’s degree in psychology and her master’s degree in professional communication from SUU.

In 2014 DeGraaf received the National Child Care Teacher of the Year Award from the Children’s Tylenol and the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. She is a trainer for Care About Child Care and has served on various volunteer boards and organizations locally and at the state level.

“I am thrilled to join the SUU team and be a part of the amazing work happening at the Center for Hope,” said DeGraaf. “I am passionate about creating environments where children can play, grow, thrive, feel loved, and accepted.”

The Center is committed to Developmentally Appropriate Practices, a nationally recognized framework promoting optimal learning and development while, at the same time offering rich experiences to children in the way that they learn best - through play. Helping children to develop greater creativity and imagination, problem-solving and social skills, delayed gratification, persistence and grit, responsibility and accountability is the focus and important aspects of school readiness.

The Center is a transformation of the former President’s Residence on the west end of SUU’s campus and is specifically for student-parents attending SUU and Southwest Technical College. Additional opportunities are available to support low-income graduate student-parents, low-income foreign student-parents, and second degree-seeking student-parents.

For those looking to support the Center, anyone can directly support student-parents through the Tiny T-Bird Scholarship program. The scholarship is available for SUU students to cover some of the costs associated with child care.

The Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center for Hope is committed to the retention and graduation of SUU student-parents by providing a safe space for their children. The Center strives to provide an emotionally supportive, healthy, and nurturing environment where children can safely learn how to problem solve, overcome challenges, and master new skills.

Tags: Child Care Center

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