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University of Missouri

Cub Hub Lends Student-Parents a Hand

Cub Hub offers activities for kids and study space for student parents.

Mary Geddie supervising children

MU human development and family studies student Mary Geddie supervises children at Cub Hub as part of her volunteer work for ParentLink.

Handling a full load of classwork is not easy. Add in a family and the challenge is greater.

That is where Cub Hub can help.

Cub Hub is a support program that provides child-friendly play and educational activities for children of student parents at MU. Across the hall is a quiet space for parents to focus on school work.

It’s a win-win situation,” student-parent Naomi Clark says. She concentrates on her studies while her 3-year-old daughter, Liberty, participates in story time. “I get my work done and my daughter enjoys playing with the other kids.”

Cub Hub, which is free to student-parents, offers educational games, structured play and snack time for pre-school through elementary school children.

Ye Su and child

Doctoral candidate Ye Su of China takes time away from studying to play with her daughter, Allison Shen, at Cub Hub.

This is a needed program to help this segment of the student population succeed at MU,” says Carol Mertensmeyer, the director of ParentLink.

ParentLink is an MU College of Education program that connects Mid-Missouri parents to useful resources. Cub Hub operates out of the ParentLink office in south Columbia and provides a sense of community that isn’t always possible on a large campus such as Mizzou.

Not only is it a place to study,” Clark says. “It is also a place to talk with other parents. There is moral support that we develop with each other, and my daughter gets to know the other kids.”

While the benefits to the student-parents are significant, Emilia Mense, who brings her 4-year-old son Caden to Cub Hub, says the children benefit most.

I would probably get my work done anyway,” Mense says. “This makes getting that work done easier, but it also allows Caden to have educational and fun interaction with the other kids.”

Cub Hub began in 2010 and is open 5–8 p.m. Monday–Thursday during the fall and spring semesters. MU service learning students and interns from the School of Health Professions help manage the program.

Serving children and families is not one dimensional,” says Mertensmeyer, who points out that there is usually close to a 1-to-1 ratio of children to student volunteers. “It’s a complex, multi-faceted endeavor. Students learn that, in addition to serving the children, they are providing families with an opportunity to overcome some of life’s challenges.”