Kathy Custer launched the online resource KeikiSitters.com after having a few none-too-pleasant baby-sitting experiences herself growing up.
“When I was a little girl, my mom had the hardest time finding sitters, so she had to come up with creative techniques to finding our sitters,” the California native says, recalling one instance when her sitter actually said yes to a request to jump off the second-story floor - and watched as a young Custer did it!
“As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that other parents are having the same difficulties as my mom had.”
For more than a year, Custer scoured university and community college campuses for reliable, responsible sitters, rounding up anyone with experience in baby-sitting, pet-sitting, house-sitting, elder companionship and tutoring. After an extensive background check, Custer placed the results along with a photo, resume, references, availability calendar and profile information online, and from there the virtual business was born.
Just in time, too, as Custer reports that Furlough Fridays have created the need for more sitters - and jobs.
“KeikiSitters.com actually saw a large increase in sitter sign-ups,” she states. “It was the teachers, who now have Fridays available, who decided to utilize our jobs to balance out their pay cut. We are very happy to be able to provide jobs to them to help them maintain their level of income as much as possible.”
When not overseeing the Web site or going on adventures in the great outdoors, Custer immerses herself in the world of community service.
“I never say no to a charity in need,” says the Punchbowl resident. Indeed. She is a regular volunteer with the annual March of Dimes walk, Rotary club events, Exceptional Family Members Program and Mokapu Elementary School. Last year, when budget cuts were beginning to rear their ugly heads, Custer donated $2,000 worth of gift certificates for KeikiSitters.com to various Oahu elementary schools to help them raise funds during silent auction events.
Most recently, Custer took charge of the Keiki Zone at the annual Arthritis Walk to benefit the Hawaii Arthritis Foundation.
“I enjoy giving back to the community because I strongly believe in the butterfly effect, where my kindness to one individual will then be passed along to thousands of others,” she says. “If I can make just one person’s life a little bit better, maybe I can change the world.”
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