On left: Donna Lowry, MD, Ready for School Past President/CEO
On right: Regan Postma-Montaño, PhD, Professor at Hope College

Welcome to our Stories of Equity and Hope Childcare report-out video series! We are excited to share with you today our work to understand and move toward creating action steps to address the challenging issue of childcare in the greater Holland area.

In response to this challenge of childcare in our community, we gathered professionals from Ready for School, Hope College, First Children’s Finance, and the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD) to consider this issue in multiple ways and from various perspectives. In this 4 part video series, our hope is that by looking through many windows into the issue, we will offer a more complete understanding of the challenges related to childcare and prepare our community for some tangible action steps forward.


This project on childcare is a community-based partnership between the organization Ready for School and Hope College and is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. In it, we also collaborate with key partners including Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD) and First Children’s Finance, as well as many other non-profit organizations and health and social service agencies in the community. 

Jessica Affholter, from First Children’s Finance, reports quantitative data in the first two videos in the series. She presents the Childcare Business Model in video 1 and Our Community overview in video 2. 

In Video 3 Maureen Schmidt, from Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, shares survey results from Families and Early Childhood Education providers and about a new innovation to help families better locate childcare and early childcare services. 

Video 4 shares findings from community focus group sessions led by our Hope College faculty and student team. These sessions included one with parent caregivers, another with preschool directors and childcare providers, and another with area non-profit and health and social service agency leaders.

Quantitative Report

Video 1: Jessica Affholter, First Children’s Finance – Childcare business model
Video 2: Jessica Affholter, First Children’s Finance – Our community overview

Qualitative Report

Video 3: Maureen Schmidt, Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD) – Survey results from families and childcare providers
Video 4: Hope College faculty/student team – Focus group findings


As we conclude this video series, if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact Ready for School at info@readyforschool.org or reach out directly to the leaders who shared in each particular video.

Jessica Affholter of First Children’s Finance  (jessicaa@firstchildrensfinance.org)

Maureen Schmidt of Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (mschmidt@oaisd.org)

 Regan Postma-Montaño of Hope College (postmamontano@hope.edu). 

We would be delighted to hear your insights or questions! 

Thank You Partners!

Check out season one of our podcast on Spotify!

Ready for School sees the big potential in all small children. Season One of this podcast aims to elevate parents and professionals as experts on the power of home and belonging which is essential to ensuring access to opportunity. For every child to reach their potential, it begins not only with their families but the very communities in which they live, learn, grow, play, and connect.