The Sitters for Service program utilizes undergraduate and graduate students to provide free babysitting for student parents.  Students volunteer their time to babysit for free in exchange for the earning of UA approved community service hours.  Involvement in this program provides much-needed assistance to students on campus who have children and enables other students the opportunity to serve the UA community.

Student parents interested in receiving free babysitting are required to fill out an application at the beginning of either the fall or spring semester each year. The number of student parents accepted into the program is dependent upon the number of student sitter volunteers participating in the program.

Undergraduate and graduate students interested in serving as a volunteer student sitter go through an application and interview process and, if selected, are trained in infant and child CPR. Each student sitter agrees to provide at least 20 hours of free babysitting over the course of one semester, while each student parent in the program receives a minimum of 30 hours of free babysitting for that same semester. Additional hours can be requested. The Sitters for Service program is now a yearlong program, although both student parents and sitters can apply and enter the program in either the fall or spring semesters.

Student sitters are required to:

  • Fill out an application.
  • Participate in an interview process.
  • If selected, attend the Sitters for Service orientation dinner (held on a Sunday night, usually 5pm-8pm).
  • Before being fully accepted into the program, all student sitters will undergo background checks.

Student parents are required to:

  • Fill out the application available from this website at the beginning of each semester.
  • If selected, parents are required to pay a $20 enrollment fee. This fee helps cover some of the costs to train the student sitters in child and infant CPR.
  • If selected, attend the Sitters for Service orientation dinner.

 

Student parents who do not complete the application or do not attend the orientation will NOT be able to participate in the program.  In addition, student parents who do not utilize any of their hours in the Sitters for Service program will forfeit their ability to apply for the program the following semester.

At the beginning of each semester, interested student parents fill out a student parent application. Each application is reviewed and student enrollment status is verified. The number of student parents in the Sitters for Service program directly depends on the number of qualified student sitters willing to serve in the program. Once the Sitters for Service administrator determines the number of student parents that can be accepted into the program, a random drawing is conducted to determine which student parents will be accepted. Half of the eligible slots will be filled by undergraduate student parents while the other half will be filled by graduate student parents. If there enough sitters willing to serve in the program, all student parents will be accepted into the program.

For applicants who do not get selected for the program for a given semester, each subsequent semester that they apply will increase their chances for being selected into the program. If an applicant is not selected for the program in a given semester, they get an extra name placed in the random draw for the next semester.  Each person begins with one name in the random drawing, but each semester a person applies and is not selected, he or she gains one additional name in the drawing pool. This is cumulative, so an individual that has missed out two consecutive semesters would have three names in the hat for the third try. Once a student parent is selected for the program, the following semester he or she returns to having only one name card included in the drawing pool.

  • Student Sitters can select to serve 20, 30, or 40 hours  of community service in an individual fall or spring semester. When submitting your application for service, you can select the amount of time that you are willing to give to the program. You will only be required to serve the minimum amount of hours that you initially request. If a sitter wants to serve more than his or her allotted hours during a semester, it is possible to gain more hours by requesting an increase or by accepting more babysitting appointments.
  • Babysitting is conducted in the homes of the student parents participating in the program. Babysitting may also be conducted at the Tuscaloosa Public Library, provided that the child(ren) are of an age to appreciate and utilize the facility and that the parent stays in the library for the duration of the sitting appointment.
  • Student Sitters can select to serve 20, 30, or 40 hours in an individual fall or spring semester. When submitting your application for service, you can select the amount of time that you are willing to give to the program. You will only be required to serve the minimum amount of hours that you initially request. If a sitter wants to serve more than his or her allotted hours during a semester, it is possible to gain more hours by requesting an increase or by accepting more babysitting appointments.
  • Applicants with a spouse/partner who is also a full-time student will not receive double hours. They will, however increase the chances of being selected into the program due to having an additional entry into the selection drawing

 

Interested in creating a Sitters for Service Program at your college or University? Contact us by email at sittersforservice@ua.edu.

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