In August, Ethan Shuchart, a student at The George Washington University Law School, put his experience in child care to work for harried parents looking for mature babysitters and college students looking for meaningful, and flexible, part-time work.
The 21-year-old St. Louis native launched Students for Students DC, a free, online job bulletin board.
So what exactly is Students for Students DC?
In early August, right after DC public schools and other local private schools in the area had announced that they were going online, I was hearing from families in the area that they were struggling to figure out work and child care. And I knew students were looking for work opportunities as well, students who are going to be in the DC area. And so the goal was to create a place those students’ information can be posted or made publicly available. And then parents, families could shop or browse and reach out to students who they thought would be most helpful to them in whatever their needs were or are.
So how many sitters do you currently have on the website?
Currently, ballpark, between 60 and 75. In total, I’ve had just over 100 students that have had their information or requested their information be made public for the opportunities.
Wow! That seems like a big number to me. Why do you think so many students have signed on?
Students, in general, are always looking for opportunities to make money, especially with something like child care, babysitting because there’s a lot of flexibility. And I would imagine that some of the business closures due to the pandemic has also affected the willingness of local restaurants and stores to hire part-time.
Is there any hesitation from people to hire babysitters for safety reasons, due to the pandemic?
There’s definitely a concern from families and some of the students in that regard. Ideally, in this pandemic environment, you probably don’t want to be bringing a stranger into your house. But if schools are closed and you’ve got parents that are working full time, there aren’t a lot of alternatives. But part of the beauty of the way the website is set up is you don’t click a button and somebody automatically is signed up to help you and come to your door. And from the family perspective, you grab that information and then you reach out to them to, I guess, negotiate on potential terms of informal employment.
Where do you see this project going long term?
I really hope it’s not a long-term project, and it’s already slowed down as far as how many people are visiting the site. Now that the school year has started, parents had time to hopefully work out some arrangement, whether or not that involves using my website, as opposed to August when school was about to start and this news [of the pandemic] broke and things were scrambling.
So how did you get into babysitting?
My mom worked at a synagogue that had an attached daycare. And so she found that they needed some help closing in the afternoon. So not really knowing anything, I thought it sounded more fun than other jobs that are available to high schoolers. And I kind of ended up falling in love with that kind of work. And I started babysitting on the weekends. And when I moved here for undergrad, one of the first things I did was apply to all the local preschools to try to get a part-time job. And so it’s just been a way for me to make money that’s also something I enjoy doing.
What do you like about babysitting?
I think that there’s just something really rewarding [about] working with little kids, especially when you get to work with the same child or set of children like I did at the preschool for a number of years and you really see them go from these just blobs of muscle crawling around on the floor to little people with little, loud personalities.