Top of page
Skip to main content
A better 2024-2025 FAFSA form is now available. Apply Today! Questions? Contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
A toddler paints on a canvas in the DV Child Care center

Childcare Programs Helping Students Move Forward

CCAMPIS and other off-site partners ensuring parent-students can study worry free

By Patty Machelor for Pima Community College

Julie Mendivil loves to hear success stories.

The childcare program she oversees helps many single parents working on getting a degree. It also provides assistance to families, like a busy military family she recently met that picked Pima Community College as a way for mom to get back in school. These students are benefiting from the college’s revamped program, which re-started a little over a year ago after a gap of bout a decade.

For Julie, who joined the college two years ago, it’s the latest job involving children. Before becoming program manager for the federally-funded Child Care Access Means Parents in School, or CCAMPIS, she spent 25 years in childcare licensing and compliance.

At Pima, she said, the need to offer childcare again was very obvious.

“It gives me peace of mind knowing they are well cared for.” ~ Angelica Perez

“Coming off of COVID, you could see such a high need,” said Julie, who works out of Pima’s Desert Vista Campus. “There were so many children at home while parents were trying to take classes online. They were not being socialized.” Julie said studies are showing how much children have fallen behind due to the pandemic. This program is helping to get children ready for kindergarten, she said, and to be more successful overall.

The Desert Vista Early Learning Center opened in October 2022 as well as off-site childcare partnerships. Parents who get spots might have their children enrolled in the learning center, or their children might receive care from one of multiple nationally accredited sites off campus.

Desert Vista Early Learning Center: On campus childcare for busy parent-students

And the new program is still evolving. In January 2024, Pima will open an Early Head Start for one-and-two-year-old children. There’s room for 16 little ones.

Angelica Perez’s two daughters started at the Desert Vista Early Learning Center when it opened in fall 2022, and one left the program to start kindergarten this year. She also has a one-year-old child she hopes can attend the Early Head Start Program in January.

Angelica started taking classes at Pima more than a decade ago, but then her husband’s military career took her away from Southern Arizona for a while. 

“I finally started going back to school after COVID,” she said. She started out studying business but has switched to a liberal arts major. She’s very grateful for the childcare help.

“It’s crucial,” she said. “They have a great curriculum there. They learn how to write, they help them work through all of these feelings and issues with each other.”

Angelica said her days are packed with school and taking care of children.“It gives me peace of mind,” she said, “knowing they are well cared for.” 

A child paints a portrait in the DV child Center
Photos by Bryce Morthland, External Relations

Building partnerships off-campus to enable student success

Breay Davis started at Pima in 2021 and will be transferring to the University of Arizona in January. 

She has two children at the Sandbox, one of the off-site childcare centers. She said her children did not enjoy their previous preschool, but they are thriving now.

“My kids have liked it so much better,” she said. “They are excited to be a part of it.”

Breay worked as a preschool teacher for three years and, initially, wanted to teach kindergarten and first grade. Now, however, she would like to be a high school teacher.

“I love English and so I think that would be the subject I would be most passionate to teach,” she said. Pima helped her figure out more about what she wants to do, she said, and it changed her perspective.

Julie can refer parents to the Arizona Department of Economic Security's Higher Education Child Care Project as well as a county program called PEEPs, which stands for Pima Early Education Program scholarships.

PEEPs partners with the college to fund its Desert Vista Early Learning Center, and also provides income-based scholarships for students who do not qualify for CCAMPIS.

“My kids have liked it so much better, they are excited to be a part of it.” ~Breay Davis

"Our Desert Vista Child Care Center is a success due to the many partnerships that have come together to make this possible," Julie said. "Our center is operated by Child Parent Centers, Inc. and models their Head Start curriculum, and they also will operate the Early Head Start program coming soon."

Julie said one of the things she's enjoyed most since the new center opened is seeing young children on little campus field trips, sometimes waving at their parents in their classes.

“It’s planting the seed,” she said of the children seeing their parents in college. “Someday, I am going to be here as an adult.”

Back to main content Back to top