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The Morris Family

St. Paul, MN 55107

Extreme Makeover Home Edition Sandy, Catricia and Mychal Morris Family When Sandy Morrisıs daughter was born, Sandy left a high-paid job in the public school system to open a daycare within her home community. Now her crumbling home may force her to close the daycare that has become a center of community life and education.

Sandra, Mother, 39, Daycare provider, runs the daycare out of her home

Catricia, Daughter, 14, 10th grade, involved in Youth Apprenticeship Program and Peace Jam. Loves to dance and help out in the daycare.

Mychal, Son, 12, 7th grade, helps his mom in the day care, involved in Youth Guides, loves wrestling and playing Basketball and Football

FAMILY STORY
Fourteen years ago, Sandy was pregnant with her first child and working as an early childhood teacher in the Saint Paul public school system, on track to become a highly-paid administrator. When Sandy looked at her daycare options, she realized there werenıt any that met her standards, so she quit her job and started her own in the community where sheıd grown up. Most high quality daycares were too expensive for Sandyıs neighbors, so Sandy found ways to run her daycare at a lower cost. She charges just enough to support herself and her family. If local families go through a financial rough patch, Sandy puts them on payment plans and assures them that they can pay whatever they can afford at the time. Sometimes itıs a financial loss to Sandy but she refuses to turn them away. Sandy uses what she learned as a teacher to make her daycare the best it can be, teaching in both English and Spanish. Everyone knows that Sandy could open the same daycare in a wealthy suburb and charge a great deal more than she does- the quality is so high that even the Mayor of Saint Paul sent his son to Sandy!

A Hispanic American with parents coming from Puerto Rico, she brings both her language and her culture of togetherness into the daycare. The kids call her ³Tia Sandy,² meaning aunt, and the parents who send their kids to Sandraıs house truly feel like a part of the family. She believes that children learn through work and play, so she focuses on a lot of interaction and socializing. She provides meals, has group time and art time. Sandra not only runs her daycare, but also spends time volunteering at El Arco Iris, a summer dance club for kids. After class, Sandra has the kids over at her house, free of charge, to have lunch and play until their parents get home from work. Each summer the director of the program presents Sandra with a special award, recognizing her hard work in the community.

Following in their motherıs footsteps, Catricia and Mychal have spent their summers doing community outreach. Catricia participates in the Youth Apprenticeship Program and ³Peace Jam,² an exclusive youth outreach group that only accepts 20 students per year. She helps to plan fun events for local kids to combat violence in the area. Mychal recently joined ³Youth Guides,² a planning committee to get events off the ground such as dances and camps.

Sandy runs her daycare out of the 100+ year old home her parents bought when they moved to Minnesota. The roof leaks every time it rains, causing holes in the walls and ceilings. The foundation is sinking, the porch is separating from the house, and many of the support beams are cracking. The numerous repairs needed to make the home structurally safe now threaten to shut down Sandyıs daycare and to remove a pillar of this vibrant, supportive, multicultural community.

SPECIFICS OF HOME
3 Story House
3 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom
SQUARE FOOTAGE: 1,314
LOT SIZE: 0.16 acres

 
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