It has been a long time coming but finally a group of dedicated (and persistent) community members have managed to collaborate and problem-solve enough to actually make the long-awaited childcare center in Eads a reality.
The Little Leaders Learning & Care Centerr (LLLCC) is holding their open house on Thursday, August 1st. The center is located in Eads inside the First Baptist Church’s south wing. The facility is located at the north end of Maine Street just across from the high school baseball field. Open House begins at 7:00 pm and will welcome interested citizens for as long as it takes for everyone to get a chance to look around and learn more. During the Open House the LLLCC is taking early enrollment for childcare spaces and also job applications for workers. The LLLCC is providing all the information parents and caregivers need in order to be a part of this wonderful new opportunity in the community.
According to an Independent article dated October 13, 2018, “When Kiowa County closed its licensed child care center roughly six years ago, it was assumed by some that other people would be able to reopen the facility under new management. That turned out to be a challenge—a challenge so substantial that, despite the interest never waning, years passed without the ability to make any progress.”
The article went on to read, “Meanwhile, individuals in the community stepped in and filled an extremely important void for parents with young children. In fact, several individuals, who could not continue to work without child care, quit their jobs and opened their home to other parents in similar situations.”
Since that October article the LLLCC board has stepped up to the plate and conducted a number of fund raisers, written some grants, and pursued gifts and funding in whatever means they could. Taking a huge leap of faith, they hired a licensed director, Tina Kraft from Eads, who has had extensive training and many years in the business of caring for children. That move really got the ball rolling as Kraft has managed to appropriate enough materials, write extensive policy manuals, and work up a business plan for the center.
The Kiowa County Economic Development Foundation (KCEDF) through director Jan Richards helped the LLLCC Board in many ways until they could stand on their own as a registered and legal 501c3 non-profit organization. Finally, the controlling board of the Baptist Church played an integral role in making the center a reality as through many months of negotiations they decided to take a chance and opened their lovely building to be used during the week as a childcare center.
Generally, the presence of an effective childcare center helps to create economic development opportunities for its citizens. These include allowing women, for the most part, but parents in general, to get back into the workforce; enhancing the learning opportunities for the community’s children giving them a solid base for future education; providing much-needed jobs in the community; and providing more opportunity for businesses to establish new revenue coming from the childcare center.
The center will provide care for all children ranging from ages birth through age 12. Children will be provided large rooms to engage in learning and social interaction based on their age. The center will be licensed for up to 59 children including ages 0-18 mos. (7 slots); 12 mos.-2 ½ years (8 slots); age 2 ½ to 5 (12 slots); age 3 ½ to 5 (12 slots); school age (11 slots); summer campers (11 slots). After school care is also provided until 6:00 pm Monday through Friday. Lunch will be provided daily.
The center is planning to open its doors to customers on September 3rd. Until then there is much work to be done. The first thing that must happen is collecting pre-enrollment forms from perspective parents and hiring a number of employees. This Open House on Thursday is key to that goal. Make plans to join Tina Kraft and the LLLCC board members on August 1 at 7:00 pm where you’ll get a tour of the new facility, have your questions answered, and become excited as we are about the opening of this new childcare center.
Note: Current LLLCC board members are Kayla Murdock, Jennifer Crow, Shawn Kraft, Debi Derby, Braylynn Eder, Jan Richards (KCEDF), and Dennis Pearson (DDS).