Coworking + Childcare in Los Alamos, New Mexico

Back in Week 29 of This Week In Coworking, we touched on the topic of how coworking leaders were adapting their spaces, transferable skills and networks to tackle the growing child care challenges in their own communities.

We then asked other community managers and operators to share how they were responding to child care challenges in their neighbourhoodsToday we share the first (of a series) of posts sharing these amazing people, spaces and communities are tackling these challenges.

👇 We caught up with Christina McCormick, the Community & Marketing Manager at ProjectY in Los Alamos, New Mexico; to learn more about their space, and what they’re doing to help tackle local child care challenges.

Can you tell us a little about your coworking space, the town, its population and who your space is perfect for?

projectY cowork is the only coworking space in Los Alamos. Our space got its name because it was the first name before the Manhattan project during WWII. Los Alamos is a very diverse town because the Los Alamos National Lab is located here and they bring scientists from all over the world. Los Alamos is also one of the top 10 counties in the nation with the highest income per capita. The population of Los Alamos is around 20,000, we have 5 elementaries, 1 middle school and 1 high school. Los Alamos is a mountain community that sits at an elevation of 7,320 feet and has regular visits from bears, mountain lions, deer, elk and other sorts of wildlife.

We have a small space with 5 tables for open seating, 8 dedicated desks and a small conference room. Our membership is small but the members we do have really make projectY a community of its own. Our members mostly comprise of remote workers who tend to be trailing spouses of LANL employees, entrepreneurs, non-profits, and hopefully more teachers.

Since taking on the position of Marketing and Community manager a year ago, I made several changes and updates to the space. From boosting the range of free snacks, drinks, and coffee available for our members, to the brand new ROOM phone booth, we're always looking at ways to make working from ProjectY as comfortable and valuable as possible.

What made you decide to look into supporting microshooling in your town?

Before I started managing projectY I was a teacher, and I will always want to get involved with helping the students of our town.

As a single working mother who loves to teach, I also know that it can feel almost impossible to teach your own kids. My daughter is 6 and just entered 1st grade and the last thing she wants is to have her mother be her teacher as well!

Since COVID-19 has changed life in general I wanted to find a solution to give these students some sense of normalcy. Many students in our district do not have access to reliable internet or help with their school work. I also know how hard it is as a parent to work from home with kids and making sure they are learning and completing their lessons as well as completing my own projects at the same time.

It occurred to me that projectY and coworking spaces in general are at a perfect spot in helping create a solution.

Even though we are not expecting to gain new members from this initiative, I do hope that the wider community sees what we do and how we can help in the future, and in times likes this.

This week you’ve hit a number of milestones, what were they?

So far, I have gotten 3 churches to agree to open their doors to help support these students.

Our district superintendent fully supports this effort and has sent out an email to the community to ask for volunteers to help the students in these microshools or in other ways that they are able to.

The Los Alamos National lab followed suit and urged their employees to use their community service hours to help students as well.

These connections are geared towards helping students, but I also know we needed to find ways to help out our teachers too, so I started by creating a specialized teacher plan at an affordable price to use projectY.

I also reached out to the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation to see if they could help to financially subsidize these plans even more for interested teachers, as even the most affordable plans are inaccessible when teachers have to choose between workspace access and paying more essential bills.

How can folks help you and your community with this initiative?

The two critical elements to making this initiative a success are: attracting willing volunteers to help supervise and help our students be successful this school year and educating our local community about what coworking is, and it's many benefits.

What would you love other coworking spaces looking at supporting microschools to know?

I would want them to know that the hardest part is just taking the initiative to go out and ask others (like churches) if they can and would be willing to help out.

Also not to just stop there, but to tie in finding solutions for teachers as well.

I wanted to make sure that I had the Superintendent’s stamp of approval and support, and then everything started to fall into place.

Thanks for sharing Christina, and for all you do for your local community!

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