The Balancing Act

By Amanda Toth
October 12, 2011

The Job Squad board is located in front of Co-Op and Career Services office. Cherise Carn, freshman education major, uses the board to find babysitting jobs for this semester.

For many students going through college, money can be a huge concern. Then finding the time to manage a job, school work and extracurricular activities is an even bigger headache.  Over the years, babysitting has become very popular among students.

“I like babysitting because I love children and when they are asleep or doing homework it gives me a chance to do my homework or study,” Missy Miller, junior education major, said.

Every year there are new and repeating families contacting the Job Squad through Co-Op and Career Services expressing a strong need for a babysitter.

“A lot of times families will find a babysitter their freshman year and use them every year after,” Nancy Hutchison, director of Cooperative Education and Career Services, said.

The parents will ask for recommendations from graduating students, other parents or past babysitters that they have used and try to find new students that can watch their children.

“I now babysit for three families because most of the parents in the area know each other and recommend babysitters to one another,” Demee Genther, junior special education major, said.

The families looking for a babysitter usually live in the Main Line area and pay students between $12 and $20 an hour.

Besides paying students nicely, many of the families work around their busy schedules. Before students begin babysitting, the parents ask for a copy of the class schedule and the schedules of any sporting or club events.

“A lot of the time I babysit around six in the morning before my internship or class and come back when their children get out of school,” Dana Drake, junior exercise science major, said.

Hutchison does the graduate surveys every year and has found that students who take advantage of the Job Squad often receive jobs based on connections through those families.  Not only is it a way to make money in a non-professional job, but it is also a great way to network.

“I graduate this year and the family I babysit for has given me hands on experience of how children behave,” Maureen Browne, senior special education major, said.

The Job Squad is advertised as a community service and there are no obligation for a student to continue working for one of the families.

With websites like or it is becoming very popular for people to find babysiting jobs. The job squad posting is great for students to find local babysitting jobs.

“I signed up for in the summer but never followed through because the listings were to far from my home,” Miller said.

Hutchison, who has been working at Cabrini for 23 years, has rarely heard of problems with families and any of the jobs that students have taken. They have a really good reputation and hav not encountered any bad situations.

“Many times parents post on job squad for students to work birthday parties which can pay $150,” Hutchison said.

Kristin Whitmore, junior education major, babysits for a family in Wayne.  Last year Whitmore went to the Job Squad board outside the career and Co-Op center with a few friends and got in contact with the family she still babysits for today.  “I got lucky because they are such a wonderful family,” Whitmore said.

Whitmore has been babysitting since she was in middle school.  She babysits because she loves kids and wants to be a teacher.

“Typically we eat dinner, watch a movie and play games. Then they get ready for bed.” Whitmore said.

Taylor McGarvey, junior criminology/sociology major, babysits for three different families near her home.  McGarvey has been babysitting for four or five years.

She got in touch with the families she babysits through neighbors and word of mouth around her house.  The activities she does with the kids depends on their ages.

“With the kids I watch in the summer, I need to drive them to swim practice and back,” McGarvey said. “Besides that, they are older and can pretty much do things on their own. I’m just there to supervise.”

During the school year McGarvey watches younger children and has to feed them breakfast, make sure they are dressed, and drive them to preschool.

“I like to babysit because it’s pretty laid back, I can roll out of bed and wear comfy clothes,” McGarvey said. “It is also usually good money.”

The Job Squad at Cabrini helps students find these babysitting jobs through the Co-op and Career center.  There is a bulletin board outside of the Co-op and Career center, next to the Cavalier Express, which has numerous babysitting jobs along with other “non-professional” jobs posted on it.

According to Hutchison, the jobs include light housekeeping, dog walking, pet care, raking leaves (in the fall), shoveling snow (in the winter) and also help with parties, such as serving the food.  These types of jobs are only posted on the bulletin board; they are not online as all of the professional jobs are.  Also, these jobs are mostly local.

Community members can apply online for jobs that they need help with from students, such as babysitting.  Babysitting is the most common job that is posted.

Job Squad does not post on -campus jobs and once it is posted the Job Squad doesn’t have anything more to do with the job.  Students can go to the Job Squad bulletin board and take down the information provided by the family; then contact the family and from there an interview process is conducted between the family and the student.

Hutchison estimates about over 500 posts come in every year. But with in the last couple years with the bad economy, the posts have gone down because people aren’t going out as much, limiting the need for babysitters. However, there are still around 300 posts this year so far.  “From observation it’s [the bulletin board] heavily trafficked,” Hutchison said.

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Amanda Toth

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