Mommy!” “Mommy!” “Mommy!” The tiny voices echoed throughout the small studio, followed by an assortment of anxious responses “no hitting,” “don’t touch that,” “stay on the carpet,” “let’s share.” MFive women, each dressed in polished business professional attire, gracefully navigate the organized chaos of a toddler photoshoot.
As the camera’s shutter clicks in the background, the women skillfully balance their roles as both working professionals and loving mothers. With a collective sense of camaraderie, they share knowing glances and supportive smiles, forming a united front in the art of corralling their lively toddlers for the perfect shot.
Sam Cardine (photographer) captures candid and heartwarming snapshots that reflect the essence of these multitasking women who effortlessly blend the worlds of professional achievement and motherhood.
These five women represent one of the Leadership Louisville Bingham Fellows projects addressing the longstanding challenges in talent pipelines and pathways faced by Louisville. For the past year, 45 diverse Louisville business and civic leaders gathered regularly to understand and explore best practices and scalable solutions for current talent shortages.
The challenges facing workers and employers are multifaceted, but one issue resonated with this group above all others: child care. During the retreat, this group, comprised of Alina Klimkina, Brandon McReynolds, Erika Brown, Jean Scott, JP Davis, oSha Cowley-Shireman, Rachel Raymond, Rick Blackwell, Stephanie Renner, and Tiffany Felts, discovered a common passion for defying conventional norms and creating real, sustainable impact in Louisville… and thus “Same Kids, New Shit” was born (later rebranded to Champions for Child Care for a more socially acceptable name).
The lack of accessible and affordable child care across the Commonwealth became apparent when one after another, guest speakers from all industries and company sizes expressed child care as one of their top workforce challenges.
Several members of the group were already actively engaged in this work, serving on boards such as Ready for K Alliance, Mayor’s Early Learning Action Group, and 4-C, providing first hand knowledge of how critical the child care crisis is.
One-third of Kentucky’s working parents say their job status has changed due to child care issues. (Public Opinion Strategies)
Over 30% of kids under 5 in Kentucky lack the child care they need. (Bipartisan Policy Center)
In a 2022 survey of Kentucky child care providers, 30% said they would have to lay off staff without continued state investment in child care, but nearly 75% of all providers surveyed said they need at least 1-5 more staff persons. (A Fragile Ecosystem – Prichard Committee)
79 of Kentucky’s 120 counties are child care deserts with more than 3 children for every 1 available slot. (KYA Kids Count 2023)
When searching for trailblazers in this space, Let’s Grow Kids, was at the top of the list. A statewide organization leading a campaign to solve Vermont’s child care crisis made headlines in 2023 for their success. After meeting with their CEO, Aly Richards, the mission was clear.
Champions for Child Care is an employer-led campaign, spearheading a transformative movement in Louisville to address the child care crisis. Leveraging collective clout to bring awareness to this issue and gain support for creating sustainable and systemic change for child care, because child care should not be a barrier to employment.
At the heart of the campaign is a simple yet powerful pledge: “For Louisville to be a thriving and equitable community, with a strong workforce, child care can not be a barrier to employment. As an employer in the community, we support policy change that provides accessible, affordable, and high-quality child care for every Louisvillian.” By signing this pledge, businesses declare their commitment to breaking down the barriers that hinder workforce participation due to child care challenges.
Multiple meetings with industry experts, business executives, and civic leaders paved the way for Champions for Child Care to transition from a Bingham Fellows project to a local partnership of Metro United Way, the Ready for K Alliance, Greater Louisville Inc., and Leadership Louisville; the Prichard Committee serves as the statewide convener through a Strong Start Kentucky.
Co-chaired by Adria Johnson, President and CEO of Metro United Way, Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, President and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc., and Kristen Byrd, Regional President of PNC, Champions for Child Care is focused on enhancing awareness and championing family-friendly workplaces across. Louisville by developing a network of employers who are child care advocates actively engaged within the coalition.
To learn more or sign the pledge, visit championsforchildcare.org!’