This week the ONE Fund cut its first check to support a New Jersey KinderCare teacher who became the sole caregiver for her husband and son when both were diagnosed with cancer. Since her husband’s death two months ago, Janet Ciano faced not only an emotional toll, but some daunting medical bills – and the stress of managing her family’s regular bills while working reduced hours.
“This will help her so much,” said Jennifer Ricra, Janet’s center director at the Kenilworth KinderCare. Janet is a strong woman, but after watching her struggle for the past few years, when Jennifer heard about the ONE Fund at PDD, she encouraged Janet to apply. “She doesn’t like to ask for help, but my AD and I told her ‘it’s your coworkers helping you.’”
For the past three years Janet has had to steadily cut back her hours at KinderCare to devote more time to caring for her family, including her husband who had terminal cancer and then her son who was diagnosed with leukemia. Last month her husband passed away. Learning to live without him has been a challenge, Janet said, but receiving this assistance from coworkers will help make life a little bit easier. She’s happy to know KinderCare and Knowledge Universe offers employees this opportunity to support their coworkers and encourages others to sign up.
“That’s the best thing you can to do to help employees,” Janet said.
The ONE fund, Knowledge Universe’s employee relief fund, is created by and for KU employees to help their peers when they most need assistance. It’s an opportunity for employees to contribute a modest amount every pay period to make a big impact on those in needs. Contributions are pooled and made available to eligible employees who experience a devastating hardship ranging from a home catastrophe to a death in the family.
While Janet is the first KU employee to benefit from the ONE Fund, Sarah Redgrave, vice president of total rewards, encourages all KU employees to continue contributing to the fund.
“The more people who participate, the stronger the fund will be, which will allow us to help more of our coworkers in need,” she said.
Sign up forms are available from center directors and at KUBenefits.com.