Black Joy

Meet the North Carolina woman providing childcare for an HBCU homecoming so parents can get lit responsibly

Have your parents ever told you to stay out of grown folks’ business? Just like grown folk business, many events during HBCU homecomings are meant for celebrating with family; some aren’t.

Brittany Pettiford, a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University (NCAT) and a Guilford County schools educator, is offering an alternative and safe childcare option for parents who want to enjoy the GHOE (what is known in the HBCU community as the greatest homecoming on earth) festivities.

“I thought of the idea with myself in mind because I am a mother of two. And being an Aggie alum, I know that homecoming is an exciting time, but you want to make sure your kids are safe. I would always worry about where my kids could go so that they’re safe and I can actually enjoy myself during homecoming,” Pettiford told Reckon.

Pettiford plans to meet parents where they are by providing childcare in Greensboro from Wednesday, Oct. 26 until Sunday, Oct. 30 of NCAT homecoming week. She’s giving parents until Oct. 20 to sign up. Part of her safe space for children also includes creating an Aggie community where kids can play games, make crafts and paint pumpkins with NCAT’s infamous blue and gold colors.

Pettiford’s homecoming childcare services range from $16 to $22 an hour, depending on how many children parents plan to sign up.

“For me, it’s not even about making money, I just want to make sure that the kids are straight and that they have snacks and goodies to enjoy themselves during homecoming,” Pettiford told Reckon.

Aggie Pride runs deep in the Pettiford family, starting out as a true HBCU love story. A former Golden Delight for NCAT’s band, Brittany met her now husband, Will, a former football player, on campus. The couple now makes it a point to not only celebrate homecoming but also to create Aggie traditions with their eight-year-old son and two-year-old daughter.

HBCU bands like the Blue and Gold Marching Machine play a prevalent role in how and why people love homecoming season. Some of Pettiford’s favorite homecoming memories stem from her experiences in the band.

“My first and favorite memory is when I performed with the band during the parade (annual NCAT Sunday parade). I had always said that the band is the most important part of the game and of homecoming. I remember what I had on, how my hair was. I even remember all the details from that day,” Pettiford said.

Pettiford says that everyone should have the opportunity to celebrate homecoming and by offering childcare during the festivities that makes it possible.

“For me, homecoming means getting out to see people you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s nice to reminisce and appreciate what NCAT did for you.”

Alexis Wray

Alexis Wray |

I report on HBCUs and Blackness, working to introduce voices and perspectives of students, alumni and community members that amplify the experiences of Black life on and off campus.

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