CINCINNATI - Most grownups would love to attend more social events, but often decline due to a lack of child care options.
Whether it’s a wedding, a corporate party or a conference, enjoying yourself while worrying about the safety and care of a child is no fun at all.
Founded by mother and daughter team Ellen Cavanaugh and Angela Parker, Your Event Sitters may be the solution to this parental problem. It is a child care business that sets up shop at events allowing for easy drop off and pick up of children by guests and attendees while providing a safe and entertaining environment for the children.
The idea for on-site event childcare occurred to Cavanaugh several years ago when she stumbled upon a wedding blog.
“I was reading this blog and it mentioned how the couple had on-site childcare and how the guests were able to enjoy themselves knowing their children were safe, and I thought what a wonderful idea," she said.
No sitter? No problem
Your Event Sitters covered the 2013 National Women's Studies Association Annual Conference at Duke Energy Center Nov. 7-10. A large room on the second floor became playtime central for children of the attendees.
There were gaming systems and arts and crafts for the older children, and Play-Doh, play mats, and smaller toys for the babies and younger children. Each parent got a wristband that matching their child’s at drop-off, and were asked to show that wristband and sign their child out when picking up.
In addition to entertainment and supervision, services at each event also include bathroom breaks, meal monitoring, diaper changes, bottle feedings, and nap time.
Cavanaugh’s partner in care, daughter and Chief Fun Officer Angela Parker (she's also the accountant), said the best thing about her role in the company is planning all of the fun activities for each event.
“I really love my job,” Parker said. “I have the role of coming up with ideas, the games, and crafts, and I get to play with the children all day."
Your Event Sitters can set up its mobile daycare services at professional and personal events in Cincinnati, Kentucky, and Indiana including:
- Corporate holiday parties, meetings, tradeshows, seminars, banquets and after-hour events
- Military events, including the Ohio Army National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program
- Weddings and receptions
- Family reunions, charity events, award ceremonies, baby showers, and Bat/Bar Mitzvahs
All sitters employed for events are CPR, First Aid, AED trained, as well as FBI and BCI screened. Cavanaugh and Parker require sitters to have previous child care experience. They check personal and professional references before hiring.
A passion for fun, caring
Parker said that Your Event Sitters works so well because it is a family business that caters to the needs of families; allowing them to come and stay together under one roof regardless of the event. Parker added that having the opportunity to work with her mother every day is an added benefit.
"The parents know they can drop off their kids and enjoy themselves because the kids are having just as much fun with us,” she said.
The company's client roster includes The National Underground Freedom Center, The Ohio Judicial Conference, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and the Hilton Netherland just to name a few.
"I have a true passion for children and for caring for children. After I retired, I did some substitute teaching and it was then that I realized that I wanted to do more. I wanted to work with children every single day,” Cavanaugh said.
That passion coupled with experience (Cavanaugh is not only a mother of two and grandmother of six, she also has a degree in business administration), helps sustain Your Event Sitters.
Cavanaugh said that while on-site event childcare is quite common in California and other states, it is still a very new concept for the Tri-State area. Having found her niche, Cavanaugh moved from Indianapolis to Ohio and put her plan into action.
Parker, who is also a mother of three, added that she feels providing such a service is a way of giving back to the community.
"It’s also a business that I believe in, she said. "We build trust with the parents and the kids and it’s wonderful to see the satisfaction on the parents’ faces when they come to pick up their children and see how happy they are and how much fun they’re having."