A Call To Action for PA Voters on Childcare

This post is sponsored in partnership with The Motherhood to share information on this important issue.

I went to college for Occupational Therapy. I’ve been working in the field for about 20 years. Because I’m a working mother, my 2 oldest children were in child care full-time until they started school. We were blessed to find great childcare centers with caring people that we grew up with. Because of having great childcare locally, my kids flourished socially. It made the transition to four year old kindergarten pretty seamless. Both of my parents worked, so did the majority of our family and friends so a childcare was our option.

By the time I had my 3rd son, I was in a position to be able to cut down to part-time. My husband and I were able to work our schedules around each other so as not to rely on childcare centers or other people. With the cost of an infant in childcare full-time and having 2 kids in after school care I did the math. I actually would make more money to cut down to part-time and work opposite shift of my husband so someone was always home.

I realized, when my youngest son was around 4 years old that he was having difficulty socializing with other kids and painfully shy. I worried about him starting school. So I delayed his K4 start and found a 4 year old pre-school that was only half a day 3 days a week. I felt like it would be a great way to get his feet wet and start socially with his peers. He graduated that 4 year old preschool and has been thriving in school ever since. In fact he’s now in 6th grade, he qualified for the regional history bee and geography bee happening in 2 weeks. I’m so proud of him.

I’m so thankful that those fantastic places and resources were available to me. But I’ve recently learned that there is a childcare crisis in Pennsylvania. Working families are having trouble finding childcare.

Some of the most concerning statistics I read from a March 2022 survey conducted by partners of the Start Strong PA campaign include:

● Nearly 32,500 children currently sit on waiting lists.
● Over 30,000 more children could be served if programs were fully staffed.
● 91% of respondents reported staffing shortages in childcare programs.
● 92% of respondents reported recruiting challenges for childcare.
● Programs need to fill nearly 7,000 open child care positions.

I wanted to start my daughter in a 3 year old preschool program that was half a day 2 days a week. It was one of the few 3 year old preschool programs in our area but there were a waitlist. If I didn’t get on the list months in advance the chances of my child getting in were slim to none. We didn’t get in but I made sure I got things taken care of for 4 yr old kindergarten. That was 6 years ago and the situations are not getting better for today’s parents looking for early childhood education.

So what is causing the childcare issues in PA?

Low wages are driving the child care staffing crisis.
● The average child care teacher makes less than $11 an hour.
● Child care pay is so low that 50% of child care professionals qualify to receive
government benefits.
● The average child care teacher lives in poverty at nearly twice the rate of Pennsylvania
workers in general.
● Programs are unable to compete with rising wages and benefits offered by companies
requiring less specialized skills.
● Child care teachers with degrees can find higher pay and benefits working in the K-12
school system.
● The average child care teacher is paid 22% less than teachers with similar degrees
working in school district Kindergarten classrooms.

The cost of some daycare, pre-schools, and montessori programs can make it out of reach for some working families too. While you can find programs that offer families with more than one child, discounts. It’s not always enough. There are great early childhood programs out there like Headstart and Pre-K counts that can help. But many Pennsylvanians agree, we need more funding. 60% of Pennsylvanians to be more exact.

Most families aren’t aware how much government funding and policymaking affects their early learning options.

When the Children Matter Action Fund ran focus groups with families prior to the onset of this project, many participants knew that subsidies come from the government, but beyond that, most were unaware of other policy decisions that affect their early learning experience. The takeaway: decisions made by politicians in Harrisburg will determine the accessibility and affordability of early learning options in PA.

Both providers and families want to be more politically engaged around these issues, but might not know where to start.


Childcare Voters do not endorse candidates, but they let people know what candidates say about early learning issues and provide a ton of content in the Facebook group and email list. The Child Care Voter project, from their research, is really the first-of-its-kind civic movement based around child care and early learning. This movement is gaining momentum already and, for people already involved, feels very exciting and empowering!

Childcare funding and access is important to so many people. I saw the value and need myself. Now that my kids are years into school I want to make sure others have access to childcare and early childhood education. I want to make sure my future grandkids have access to it.

Primary elections are May 17. Read up on this important issue before you vote!

Join me on the Childcare Voters facebook page

Will you become a childcare voter?

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The Value Of Timber On Your Land: FREE Resource

It’s not something I’ve put a lot of thought into. In hindsight, maybe I should have. We hired some arborists to cut down a few dead trees for us a couple years ago. We did keep the fallen timber to use in our fire pit and wood burning furnace. So, I guess we didn’t waste it. But we only live on about an acre. I know a number of people around us have acres of land with lots of trees or fallen timber.

Have you ever wondered about the value of the timber on your land? Penn State Extension has released the “Value of Standing Timber” publication. It helps land owners and loggers learn the economic value of standing timber and how it’s determined.

This 24-page publication describes methods for estimating timber volumes and values in a simple, easy to understand, manner. It will also help landowners and loggers understand how the value of timber is determined and, in turn, provide them with increased opportunities for obtaining a fair market price when selling timber, said Dave Jackson, extension forester and publication co-author.

The publication is available as a free downloadable PDF; printed copies are available for purchase. To learn more, visit https://extension.psu.edu/valuing-standing-timber or call 877-345-0691

I looked over this myself. It’s highly informative with helpful illustrations and tables. It covers a number of steps to take to prepare you for getting a good value for your standing timber. As well as information about how it’s valued at more. Education is the best way to make sure you’re not taken advantage of!

This is a great time to start preparing wood for the winter too. It needs to dry out for several weeks to a couple months to make good firewood. I know in my area, there are always people looking for firewood for small things like fire pits to necessities like heating their homes.

If you own wooded acreage in my area another way to make money off your land is to let hunters pay to hunt on your land. Hunter find it appealing as there is exclusivity to it. The land isn’t over-hunted.

About Penn State Extension

Penn State Extension is dedicated to translating scientific research into real-world applications to drive progress. In support of Penn State’s land-grant mission, extension programs serve individuals, businesses and communities, while promoting a vibrant food and fiber system, a clean environment, and a healthier population in Pennsylvania and beyond. With support from federal, state and county governments, the organization has a tradition of bringing unbiased information and support to the citizens of Pennsylvania for more than 100 years.

Penn State LIFT Program For Adults 40+

LOGANTON, Pa. — Penn State Extension will offer an in-person and group-based strength-training program for inactive to moderately active adults aged 40 and older.

“LIFT,” which stands for Lifelong Improvements through Fitness Together, will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 PM to 7 PM from March 17 to May 7 at the Sugar Valley Rural Charter School, 236 E. Main Street.   

Participation may result in improvements in functional fitness or the ability to perform activities of daily living with ease.

“LIFT” sessions are held twice a week for one hour over the course of eight weeks and include an active warmup, eight core strength-training exercises and a cool-down period. The program also encourages participants to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Strength training offers physical, mental and emotional benefits including increased muscle mass and strength; improved bone density; reduced risk for osteoporosis and related fractures; reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, depression and obesity; and improved self-confidence, sleep and vitality.

Cost of the program is $60. Some insurance policies may reimburse participants with 80 percent or better attendance; those attending should check with their insurance provider for more information.

To register, visit extension.psu.edu/lifelong-improvements-through-fitness-together-lift or call 877-345-0691.

I suggest checking the site because there are several Penn State extension sites that offer the program. Penn State also offers other health related programs to the public.

About Penn State Extension

Penn State Extension is a modern educational organization, dedicated to translating scientific research into real-world applications to drive progress. In support of Penn State’s land-grant mission, extension programs promote a vibrant food and fiber system, a clean environment and a healthier population for Pennsylvania and beyond.

Penn State Extension serves individuals, businesses and communities, helping them address problems and realize opportunities through a robust portfolio of educational programs, products and services. With support from federal, state and county governments, the organization has a tradition of bringing unbiased information and support to the citizens of Pennsylvania for more than 100 years.

Sustainable Energy in Pennsylvania

Living in rural Pennsylvania, there are a few sources for sustainable and renewable energy. Some are more evident than others. Other sources haven’t quite caught on yet.

In Pa, the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard Act of 2004 requires 18% off energy sold to Pennsylvania to be come from renewable sources within 15 years. Personally I’d like to see that number increased but it’s a good start.

If you drive anywhere near Meyersdale, Pennsylvania it would be hard to miss the wind farms. The huge windmills spinning at any given time. You don’t even have to be in Meyersdale to see them as they can be seen from many miles away. Pennsylvania actually ranks 16th in the nation for wind energy generation! The entire state of Pennsylvania has a total of 24 wind farms so far.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is working with wind developers to help minimize the impact of energy sources on the natural wildlife.

In my opinion, there’s a few reasons why there’s not a bigger shift towards more sustainable energy catching on in Pennsylvania:

  • Pennsylvania, especially rural Pennsylvania, tends to grip onto coal since it a job source that pays well. Recent promises for political figures have only encouraged residents to tighten the grip more.
  • The start up cost of installing solar panels in PA can be tens of thousands of dollars on the average home. Something not within reach of many Pennsylvanians.
  • Geothermal is becoming more popular but again, the start up cost of installing geothermal energy in a home can be out of reach for some.

That being said, Douglas Healy explains how energy companies can weather the shift to sustainable energy. While sustainable energy is a better option for the environment, until it improves, it’s not always reliable.

Some states however, have found success in using sustainable energy sources. In states where solar power is popular and more residents have solar panels installed, it can eliminate the customers energy bill all together. In some cases, those customers actually get paid for the energy they produce. My husband’s aunt lives in Massachusetts. She had solar panels installed on her home. She said it cost about $70k to install but she no longer had an energy bill. Unless you’re paying several hundred a month of electric and plan on living in your house for many years, the pay off may not be evident to some home owners. However, it might be a big selling point should you need to sell your home.

There are also some tax incentives. According to the IRS website, there are even tax credits for making your home more energy efficient to include new window installation, renewable energy equipment, etc. If you are unsure if you improvements you’ve made would qualify, you could always as a tax professional. Often times, the company installing your improvements will have that information as that is a selling point for them.

I’m also hopeful in the development of biofuels for vehicles. I’ve recently read that there is a company trying to make fuel from algae. Then I’ve heard about a company trying to make tires from recycled materials. I’d also like to see better ways to recycle or repurpose junk cars.

This post is sponsored by Diamond Links. Any opinions expressed are my own.