When parents are trying to navigate before- or after-school care for their children, there can be a lot of questions. For parents looking at the KidsCare program through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County, Jacquie Ricks is the voice on the other end of the phone line answering those questions.
Ricks has been the program’s administrative assistant for the past two years. She handles most of the contact with parents.
“I really work to give them all the information they need to make an informed decision and sign up as easily as possible,” Ricks said. “There’s so much involved in getting a child signed up, I want them to know how it works so they feel more comfortable.”
She said parents just need someone to help them walk through the process to get a child enrolled. With 550 kindergarten through sixth grade students in the KidsCare program this fall, that can be an awesome task.
Ricks said her journey to the KidsCare program came after years in the banking industry.
“My background was in banking, but I like to do customer service, give the parents what they need and make people happy. That was the focus of my goal in looking for a job. There’s a lot of customer service in this job,” she said.
Ricks actually started as a temporary employee, but liked the work so much she joined the team full-time when the job was offered to her.
“They wanted to keep me, and my husband said that if I wanted a new car, I should look for something permanent,” she joked.
Now, in addition to handling calls from parents, she also works at KidsCare sites when she’s needed.
“I like to color with the kids and play games. It takes me back to the fun times in life,” she said. “I’m amazed by our team members who can give the kids all their love every day and they enjoy what they do. You can tell they’re making a connection because the kids love them, too. You can see the kids really love the program, they need it and appreciate it.”
She said working with the program has opened her eyes to the need for programs like KidsCare in the community.
“I know that childcare is expensive. This is unbelievably well priced. When I call parents and tell them they have a spot, they are ecstatically happy. That is amazing for me to be able to do that –- to help share that good news and relieve that stress in their lives,” Ricks said.
Originally from Canada, Ricks has been in the United States for nine years, moving here after marrying her husband. She plans to become a citizen in the near future.
“I want to become a citizen out of respect for my husband and my father-in-law. It’s nice here and I love it.”