The reservations are set, the film time picked out, everything looks to be set for date night...except the kids, that is. You forgot to hire a sitter? You thought I was doing it? Dinner is at eight, whatever are we to do?
All too often, families run into this situation, and all too often it spells trouble. But one man is seeking to remedy that with the Feb. 10 launch of BabysittingBarter.com, where parents can easily find the solution to date night woes, according to President and CEO Brian Mannix of Glen Cove. The site currently operates out of LaunchPad LI in Mineola, an office building that specializes in catering to startup operations.
“We are a unique online platform that brings parents and babysitter together,” he said.
Mannix was born in Garden City, and after completing college in Pennsylvania, he returned to Long Island, living in Rockville Centre, Sea Cliff, and finally Glen Cove, where he currently resides. While he has been a social studies and computer teacher for the past 14 years, his latest undertaking was inspired by the fact that he has three children; obviously, he said, this can complicate things when he and his wife desire the occasional night out on the town.
“I have three boys...they’re great, but they’re tough,” he said. “One night back when we were living in Sea Cliff, everyone was going to a theater event in town. One woman whom I worked with wasn’t able to go because she couldn’t get a babysitter...everyone in town had hired them all. In my mind, I thought that perhaps she should be the sacrificial lamb and baby-sit for everyone’s kids, and next time I would do it, and so on...and that’s how Babysitter Barter was born.”
The idea of babysitting cooperatives was formed—a website where parents can “trade” babysitting for free. Mannix constructed a website where parents hoping for a night out can send an email to the people in their circle; if one of them agrees to sit for their kids, the parents pay them in “points.” The more points you have, the more often you can request the services of those in your circle, and if your points are getting low...well, you need to get out there and start sitting for people yourself, buddy.
Gaining the support of Mom’s Clubs across the country, Mannix saw that he was onto something. With the help of his business partner, Lauren Conlon, he started to take Babysitting Barter to the next level.
“At some point, your circle might not be able to sit for you on a given night, so we thought, 'why not bring in a paid babysitter crew?' That could be our paid, premium component, whereas the point system among parents would remain free,” he said. “We’re here to make money, but we’re really here to do so much more than that...we want to benefit parents. If they don’t have the money for babysitting, we want them to be able to use our site anyway just to be able to schedule and trade babysitting with their family and friends.”
The services of paid babysitters are scheduled via “gold points” that can be purchased by users; the sitters themselves are screened by a comprehensive process (known as “trustworthy ties”) where members can see who has employed who, inquire about experiences with specific sitters, and leave detailed reviews. In addition, the sitters can accumulate gold points themselves (known as a “barter bonus”) based on the number of jobs they work, that can be traded in for cash, gift cards, or coupons for local businesses.
“We want parents to feel confident that they can get a good, trustworthy, reliable, and qualified babysitter with BabysittingBarter.com,” he said. “Likewise, we want to reward babysitters for being loyal and to be connected with us.”
Local businesses can get in on the act by advertising upcoming events (at no cost), thus opening up the services of sitters affiliated with the site to cover families wishing to attend that event.
According to Communications Director and Manhasset resident Michelle Pagano, it’s a valuable resource for both parents and babysitters; a genuine sentiment she said that comes from experience.
“I was a babysitter for over 10 years, and this is definitely something unique and new in the babysitting realm. It’s nice to have a website where sitters can form trustworthy connections with parents and add a little extra to their bank accounts,” she said. “Even though I’m now retired as a sitter, I wish something like this was around when I was sitting, because it’s a great idea.”
Mannix said the site is there to be a valuable service to the community; he hopes it will take off, bringing parents, sitters, and local merchants together.
“I want to help the parents on the site, I want to help the paid babysitters on the site, and I want to help the businesses on the site,” he said. “We want to please everyone, and we want everyone to benefit.”
Saturday, 01 March 2014 00:00
The second meeting of the Powers Chemco property site at Glen Cove City Hall last Thursday night focused on health concerns in the surrounding area. Spokesmen from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Department of Health (DOH) and other environmental experts discussed the extent of the contaminated soil and water at the site. It was a continued discussion on the proposed clean-up of the State Superfund site, which was formerly occupied by the Columbia Ribbon and Carbon
Manufacturing Company, and now located within the 15-acre Konica Minolta property.
“After careful studies, we found that the contaminated soil and water table poses no threat to nearby residences,” said Nathan Epler, a hydrogeologist from the environmental consulting and management firm Roux Associates.
Friday, 28 February 2014 00:00
The Glen Cove Council of PTAs will be holding its Annual Community Scholarship Fund Event at the Swan Club on Sunday, March 9, at 11:30 a.m. The Glen Cove Community Scholarship Fund was founded in 1958, and it annually administers funds in the form of scholarships to deserving Glen Cove High School seniors. All proceeds from this event will be donated to this fund. The event will feature a performance by the High School Jazz Band and a basket raffle. This year’s honorees are Nomi Rosen, Dr. Michael Israel, Rosemarie Sekelsky, Brittney Frank Rifkind, Suzanne Anderson and Mary Murphy.
Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00
The North Shore High School swimming team completed its season with high honors this year. Both the men’s and women’s teams have qualified individual athletes for all-conference and all-county championship competitions.
Coach Samara Weitz has also been honored with the Nassau County Coach of the Year award—motivating many of her athletes to succeed throughout the season, including senior Kristen Stanis.
“She made sure I was working hard, but also having fun,” Stanis said. “She taught me how to balance work and play and how it’s important to maintain it.”
Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00
It was all fun and games at the fourth annual Winter Classic Hockey tournament at the Town of Oyster Bay Ice Skating Center in Bethpage on Saturday, Feb. 8. Young adults and kids of all ages from the Long Island Blues Hockey team faced off against three other teams in the event that gives individuals with special needs the opportunity to play ice hockey in an accommodating setting.
Michael Russo, founder of the Long Island Blues team, said he started the program 10 years ago so his son, Nicholas, who has autism, could play hockey.