In 1989, the United Presbyterian Home saw a need from their employees who were looking for a quality and affordable day care for their children. So Mike Moore, CEO at the time, looked into the possibility and after quite a bit of research, the UP Home Board approved the daycare on campus as a benefit for employees.
“There was a need from working parents to find quality child care,” said past CEO Mike Moore. “And we thought we would be able to retain good employees and we thought it would help us recruit others in the future.”
Not only has the Day Care proven to be a benefit to the employees working on campus, but it has proven to be a benefit to the independent residents on campus and those who live in Brownlee and Garrett Health Centers. There are twelve residents who currently volunteer in the day care. Some of the things they help with include rocking the babies to sleep, feeding the babies at lunch and just providing an extra hand.
“The kids definitely put joy in to the residents’ lives. It’s fun to watch them interact,” said Activity Director Carol Enfield who had all three of her girls attend the UP with Kids Day Care when they were younger.
The Day Care kids are often out for stroller walks on the campus streets in the summer or through the apartment hallways during the winter months. The kids are also included in various activities in the Health Center such as crafts, resident birthday parties, residents reading books to the kids and singing to the residents, just to name a few.
“It’s comforting to know my boys are in the same building as me. I get to see them throughout the week and if they need something, I can go right downstairs. It is also fun to see my kids interact with the residents,” said Kandis DeWitt, Certified Medical Aide at the UP Home.
When the Day Care opened it was just for employees’ children and at the time nine kids were enrolled. Now the Day Care has approximately 52 kids enrolled between infants, toddlers and the school aged kids who attend the summer camp. Although the Day Care is still primarily for employees’ kids, the center does take other children, if space allows.
“I started in the summer of 1989 to help get the Day Care ready and we opened August 7,” said UP with Kids Day Care Director Lisa Clark who received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Child Development from Northeast Missouri State University before starting at the UP Home. “I have seen so many changes over the last 30 years. It has been fun to watch the children grow over the years and then see them have their own children as adults, a few of which now bring their kids to Day Care here.”
The UP with Kids Day Care is celebrating 30 years in conjunction with the campus Independence Day party on July 2nd. The celebration will include pony rides, face paint, balloon animals, bouncy house and a lunch completed with root beer and anniversary cake. Thanks to the following people and business for sponsoring the fun events: Drahota Woodworks, Greiner Buildings, Megan Fluharty, Rich Pumping LLC and Washington Lumber & Home Store.