Nicholls professor launches Little Colonels Closet to provide free childcare items to parenting students
Nicholls State University is set to introduce a new resource room to its campus this fall that will provide free access to childcare items for pregnant students and students with children.
Housed in Peltier Hall, Little Colonels Closet will offer a variety of items such as diapers, wipes, non-medical ointments, sippy cups, pacifiers, bottle cleaning brushes and clothing.
Rebecca Picou, instructor of sociology and founder of Little Colonels Closet, said that the idea for the resource room grew out of her own experience with sharing baby items for her two-year-old son among friends and members of her family. She wanted to develop a way for pregnant and parenting Nicholls students to have easy access to resources they may need for their children.
“Once he was born, as he was growing up, I was seeing how many things you only need for such a short amount of time,” Picou said. “Me, my sisters-in-law and a couple of my friends, we all started just sharing stuff…I was very grateful to have those resources, and I started thinking maybe not everyone has this.”
Little Colonels Closet’s Peltier Hall location was chosen to provide for a space where students utilizing its resources could feel a sense of anonymity and privacy, Picou said.
All resources in the room are free and available to pregnant and parenting students. To access the space, students are asked to email email@example.com to make an appointment.
Little Colonels Closet will offer access to childcare necessities, but it will provide some extra items as well.
“We’re going to have some basic clothing, but I also want to have some nicer outfits, so if you’re taking family pictures or it’s your child’s first birthday, and you want to use that little party dress or that cute little outfit to take those pictures, we would have those things available for the students to borrow,” Picou says.
While Little Colonels Closet is not providing larger items like car seats and cribs at the moment, Picou said she will work to make arrangements for students to obtain such items from donors if they post them on Little Colonels Closet’s Facebook page.
Picou said a resource like Little Colonels Closet is important for ensuring that parenting students are able to fulfill their dreams of receiving a college education while making sure their children’s needs are met.
“I don’t want a student to do poorly on an exam or project because they’re so concerned about how they’re going to afford their child’s next pack of diapers. I know we won’t ever be able to be somebody’s sole resource for everything they need, but if we can give that helping hand…that’ll just make things easier, that’s our goal,” Picou said.
Picou has plans in mind for how she’d like to see Little Colonels Closet grow in the future. For example, she said her dream is for the room to resemble a boutique so students can feel like they are shopping in a “cute baby store.”
In addition, she said she is working with members of Nicholls’ Students for Life organization to develop childcare services for parenting students, as well as community events.
“We talked about things like a community day, where if we have an excess of supplies, maybe reaching out to people in the community that need them,” Picou said. “We talked about organizing childcare events during finals and midterms where you, for free, could come, and we supervise and hang out and watch your children while you study for your midterms and your finals.”
Picou said she is thankful for the support that Little Colonels Closet has received so far. Those interested in donating can reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. She said the resource room’s biggest need will be diapers and baby wipes, but all items are welcomed.