Even though “The Baby-Sitters Club” stars Kristy and Stacey aren’t involved, Isla Vista’s own baby-sitting business still aims to keep kids occupied – without all the teenage drama.
Santa Barbara Sitters, founded approximately three months ago by UCSB students Kasey Edwards and Rebecca Klauber, matches up UCSB students with local families looking for quality baby-sitters.
“The purpose is to connect Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Montecito families with reliable and responsible UCSB students who they feel comfortable leaving their children with for an extended amount of time,” said Klauber, a third-year film studies and linguistics major. “We want it to be higher profile, or upscale, something I can’t see with other [baby-sitting] networks. We make sure [students] who go in are pretty much upstanding people.”
Edwards, a third-year comparative literature major, said when screening students to be possible baby-sitters, Santa Barbara Sitters checks for numerous qualities and qualifications to make sure applicants will not let families down.
“The process is kind of strict, because we’re looking for people who are really professional, enthusiastic about being with kids, who are reliable, and we want people with maybe something extra to offer,” Edwards said.
Currently, about 15 students and 15 families use the service, Klauber said. Because the families are located throughout the area from Goleta to Carpinteria, car owners with clean driving records are preferred, but those comfortable using the bus system will still be considered.
Transportation, however, is only one of many requirements in the detailed process, Klauber said.
“We look at their references, call everyone that they list,” Klauber said. “Most are CPR-certified, but if they’re not we try to connect them with that [through local programs]. And we interview them. That’s pretty much the process. We have a specific dress code … and certain things, like leave the house a little cleaner than it was. You’re working for the parents, not the children. I think that a lot of the time the sitter dedicates their work to kids when that’s not how it’s supposed to be.”
Edwards said the families involved are also screened to some extent to ensure that the chosen sitter is well suited to fit their needs.
“We’re looking for families whose houses or areas are safe, because we’re not going to risk the sitters,” she said. “If they’re ready to meet the sitters, we’ll pretty much accept them. When a family gets in touch we send [the information] to anyone meeting availability requirements. If a [particular] sitter doesn’t want to do it, that’s okay.”
Edwards said the idea for the business started when she and Klauber began receiving more baby-sitting offers than they could take.
“We were baby-sitting and getting lots of job offers, so we decided to pass some of them along to our friends, but friends weren’t enough, so we decided to do this,” Edwards said. “We think that the UCSB thing is really our catch.”
Students baby-sit at a rate of $9.17 per hour, with a small percentage going toward the business operations. Edwards said most of the families request students who are available for evening and weekend jobs.
“It’s something that works out for everyone,” she said. “We’re basically like talent management. It’s convenient for [students], and we’re offering them jobs if they want them.”
Klauber said she hopes to always have enough sitters for the families.
“The bigger the better, pretty much,” she said. “There’s no particular goal, but if any family calls we want to be available for them. [We hope that] if you need us, within 24 hours we’ll have someone.”
Interested students should contact Santa Barbara Sitters at firstname.lastname@example.org and include their age, r