Meeting to find the perfect babysitter

UVM students had a chance to participate in what was the fourth semi-annual babysitting mixer on Sept. 26, where potential babysitters and parents collide.”It’s going to a job fair with kids,” one of the mixer’s hosts, UVM senior Megan Benay, said.”The process of the babysitting mingler is like speed dating,” returning babysitter Angelina Maria Giorgetti said. Students and parents meet, hand out contact info and chat for 20 minutes before the kids start flooding in, she said. Babysitters make valuable connections by interacting with both parents and kids. University students are often assumed to be irresponsible and rowdy, so the babysitting mingler is very important to establish a bond between community members and students, Benay said. “Babysitting gives UVM a kinder face,” she said. Students often just forget that there are also families living within Burlington, many of whom struggle to balance their workload and family life, she said. “We find that when students and neighbors can meet each other, it also can improve the quality of life in neighborhoods,” student services professional from the Office of Student and Community Relations Alicia Taylor said. “Babysitting is a mutually beneficial relationship,” Taylor said.  “It not only provides jobs for students, but also helps to fill a huge need in our community for parents.” While any sort of job might conflict with students’ schoolwork and social life, Anna Louise Townsend, another longtime babysitter, said that it actually helps her be more productive and study more efficiently during nap time. The most challenging part about babysitting is balancing out school, social life and work, Giorgetti said.  “I will get overwhelmed sometimes when four families will request one weekend.””For the most part, you get to make your own hours,” Townsend said. “For instance, if someone calls and I can babysit, I do — if not, I usually help them by asking one of my friends to help out.”” I think a lot of students really enjoy hanging out with little kids,” Taylor said. “The little ones really look up to college students, and there is great potential for developing life-long relationships and really making a difference in a child’s life.” This, combined with the extra responsibility students acquire, makes babysitting a valuable experience and not just a good alternative for a job.