Campus and Community Partners Spotlight Issue of Child Care Access

Isom Center to screen 'Through the Night' documentary and host child care panel

OXFORD, Miss. – The Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi is partnering with a number of other university and community organizations to screen the documentary “Through the Night” to spark conversation around the issue of child care.

The focus is on providing for those in the LOU community who require child care outside of normal workday hours.

“What does it mean to have access to child care when you don’t have the normal 9-to-5 schedule?” said Theresa Starkey, associate director of the Isom Center and member of the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women. “I think about the needs of the people who make this campus go, in terms of our staff, faculty and students.”

The documentary, which follows a 24-hour day care and the mothers who require its services, will be followed by a panel discussion focusing on how this need also exists in the LOU community.

The screening is at 6 p.m. Thursday (March 10) at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center. It is free and open to the public, but organizers ask that those planning to attend register at to help prepare activities for the children.

Child care access affects faculty, staff and students alike, which is why so many groups have come together to host this event, including the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women, School of Education, William Magee Center for AOD and Wellness Education and the UM Working Mother’s Network. Also, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and OxFilm are hosting the screening at the Powerhouse to extend access to the larger Oxford and Lafayette County communities.

“Our students come in all different shapes and sizes, but more importantly, they navigate our campus in a multitude of contexts,” said Jazmine Kelley, coordinator of wellness education at the Magee Center. “Students that are parents provide our campus community with a reality check, and this screening will provide our campus community with insight about how to best support those individuals.”

To make the screening easier for parents to attend, the School of Education’s Teacher of Tomorrow program will provide supervised educational activities for children.

“Oftentimes as parents of young children, you can’t do anything unless you have child care,” said Kenya Wolff, co-director of the UM Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning. “The Teachers of Tomorrow are offering to watch children because we know it’s important for parents to watch this film and have a space to talk about this issue.

“For them to attend, we have to provide that access. It’s taking away a barrier.”

Starkey said she hopes the event will connect and spotlight the many organizations working toward the similar goal of child care access.

“Organizing this event seemed like a way the Isom Center and the Chancellor’s Commission of the Status of Women could work on an issue that the community is already championing,” Starkey said.