By Alyssa Weston
Last semester, Isebella Greathouse was ready to drop out of college.
In addition to working a couple of jobs and going to class full time, the senior geography major at Youngstown State University is also a single parent to her 2-year-old daughter.
Greathouse struggled with finding resources for parents on campus. But, instead of continuing to feel defeated, she decided to create an organization for other students who are parents.
That’s when the group Tea Time For Parents was formulated.
“We were sitting there trying to think of a name, and I was like, ‘What about Tea Time For Parents?’ Like, children get teatime, we need our time,” Greathouse said.
The group aims to support and uplift its members and other parenting students as well as provide access to resources like clothes and food. The group wants to help not only at YSU students but students nationally as well.
After talking with the Office of Student Outreach and Support and receiving support from university President Jim Tressel, Greathouse met with the YSU Student Government Association to make the organization official.
Additionally, the organization is looking to find solutions to issues that affect parenting students.
“We’re exploring tuition to help pay for day care or what we could do to lower the cost of day care for parents. I extended the food pantry to help parents and children, so we’re taking donations like baby formula, snacks, juice pouches, stuff like that,” Greathouse said.
Ryan Donchess, media engineer for the department of communication, serves as the faculty adviser for Tea Time For Parents.
Donchess said within two months or less, Greathouse was able to get everything together on her own and organize enough group members, officers and an adviser to get the group started.
“[Greathouse] identified a need through her own experience as a single mother, found that there wasn’t enough support through the university, and it was suggested to her to start to organize a group. That clicked for her. She got the idea and she took it off from there,” he said.
Donchess believes this organization is the start of aiding families where it’s needed and marketing resources that are available in the community to a specific group that could use the support.
Alex Godoy, a sophomore computer science major, started pursuing his degree at YSU 12 years after his high school graduation while parenting his 5-year-old daughter.
Godoy said he decided to go back to school so he could do something his daughter would be proud of.
After talking with Greathouse about her goals to bring more accessible day care options to campus, Godoy was on board.
“The reason why you’re going to school, especially if you’re a parent, is not only to better your life but your child,” he said. “How are you going to do that if you don’t have the time to do that?”
Godoy plans to reach out to other groups who need support through Tea Time For Parents, such as YSU student veterans who are parents.
Godoy said he advises other parenting students to not be afraid to ask for help.
“I think as a single parent, especially because you’re trying to take care of another human yourself, I think you get some type of pride sometimes, and it doesn’t allow you to reach out and get the help that you need,” he said.
Greathouse is working to show other parents that they don’t have to feel defeated when it comes to obtaining their college degree.
“I went from feeling hopeless and that there are no resources on campus because it’s not talked about, but now that I started getting involved that changed my experience completely. I realized that I can help other parents so they don’t feel the way I felt,” she said.