Stella Moga Kennedy is a believer in the increasingly elusive American dream. That’s why the founder of Le Chaperon Rouge childcare centers has long offered free childcare for parents who are looking for work. It’s just never been quite this popular before.
As she puts it: “Cleveland’s sports teams and economy are in the same boat.” The eight centers, located mostly in upscale suburbs, have tallied some 15,000 days of free care. Among them, Independence has seen the steadiest stream of parents in need of late.
Moms and dads who have lost jobs and are actively looking for new ones can qualify for the program. So can families under financial distress because of life-changing or terminal illness. There are no restrictions on the number of free days available.
Kennedy calls the program a conditional charity: not meant to enable a sense of dependence, but to inspire and motivate parents to strive for success. And how long does she intend to keep it rolling?
“Forever,” she says. — Kate Glending