I got an email a few weeks ago from the Family Support Network, which is a service for families of children with special needs. It said they were looking for families to mentor students at UNC who are graduate students in early childhood, special education, speech and language pathology, and occupational therapy. A part of their coursework requires them to spend time with a family and do a service project for them. It requires a minimum of 15 hours from the student over the fall semester, and the service hours may include babysitting if we don't have more specific needs. Also, they will pay us $50 for our time. So I signed up, and they said they would let us know if they matched us with a student.
So, I just got an email that they matched a student to our family, so we are in. They gave us her name, so we googled her (of course...). And it turns out that she is our age (I guess I was expecting someone like 22 years old), she is an experienced pre-school teacher, she currently works at TLS (the Reggio daycare that Munchkin was at until she started K) as co-lead for the half-day program, and she is getting her masters in Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support. She sounds very qualified to babysit for us for free!
She is supposed to just hang out with us for some of the hours just observing our daily lives, eat with us, come to the grocery store, whatever. She can observe Sweets at her daycare and in her speech therapy. She can come to IFSP or IEP meetings (though I don't think we have any scheduled during this semester) and doctor's appointments. If she can come with us to the genetics appt in Oct that would be great because the paperwork warned us that the appt would take 3 hours and that you might want to bring someone who can occupy your child while you talk to the doc.
I'm trying to think of other service-y things she can do. I'm thinking she can help us organize our toys/games which right now are just all over the place and there are so many that it is overwhelming. One of Sweets' evaluations had suggested implementing a different kind of toy system where only a few are available at once so that she isn't overwhelmed with the choices, so maybe her experience as a pre-school teacher would help with figuring out the best way to do that and which toys to leave out, etc.
My husband keeps saying, what's the catch? I don't know!
UPDATE: Well, we were informed that our student dropped the class. And the other students are already paired with families. So I guess we are not doing this now...