ROCHESTER, N.Y. — For many parents, finding affordable day care was already a struggle, and the pandemic made it worse. A Rochester day care is giving parents a lot of options, especially for those who work odd hours.
The morning routine in the Zukoski household is a busy one.
“I work from home,” said Steve Zukoski. “So, I’ll usually help make breakfast and get them out the door.”
His wife, Allison, is a co-owner of Laughing Gull Chocolates in Rochester.
“I’m able to spend quality time with [their daughter Lucy]” Allison said. “And then spend more time on my business when I’m there.”
The Zukoskis don’t need full-time child care. Between work meetings and social gatherings, they do need something flexible. That’s where a relatively new business, with a new concept, comes in.
Marvelous Mind Academy is a drop-in day care center that lets parents set the schedule. Owner Rosa Marie Curtis’s concept came from her own experience as a parent of two young boys, working a job with odd hours.
“You don't have a set schedule,” she said. “You work when they have hours available. And that wasn't always convenient for my family or friends who were helping me with child care, and so oftentimes, I found myself stuck.”
Marvelous Mind is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week. But it’s not a full-time daycare. Parents can schedule drop-offs in three-hour blocks. It's not just for work commitments, but anything else that may come up, even an evening out.
“The idea behind bridge care is parental mental health,” Curtis said. “Knowing that you have a safe place for your kids to play while you take a break, while you get some work done, while you spend time with friends, because when you are well, your children will be well.”
“Every week is different when you own your own business,” said Allison Zukoski. “Sometimes you have a meeting on Thursday afternoon that you need to have support with, or you have something on Thursday morning, so it's nice to be able to have that flexibility.“
Rosa Marie says the “thank you’s” from parents are the most rewarding part. It’s not bad for a unique new business — which was supposed to open right as the pandemic began.
“Challenges are the universe's way of just asking you over and over again, how much do you want it?” she said. “So we're here now. It’s great.”