Friends, children, parents, staff, and board of the Shepherdstown Day Care Center (SDC), during a year when all of us have felt the impact of the recession, the Day Care has provided a vital service to those most in need. The past year has underscored the importance of the SDC, whose mission is "to provide affordable, nurturing child care and enriching, educational experiences for the children of working parents" Although our economy may have stumbled, in our classrooms, our children are making huge strides, and many of our parents are thankful for the positive and steadying influence the SDC has on their family's life. We met and conquered the challenges of 2009, and are ready to help our children, our families, and our community move forward in 2010.
For 37 years, this non-profit Day Care has been a part of our community, and, throughout that time, the community has supported the SDC's efforts to provide quality, affordable day care to the children of the Eastern Panhandle. Over 37 years, the community has touched us with a generosity that does more than provide funding, it provides inspiration, and encourages a vision of the brightest future for our children and the SDC. In 2009, one of the greatest symbols of this inspiration and vision was the ribbon cutting ceremony at our new playground. With Ronald McDonald on hand, we thanked our magnificent donors but I'm sure our words could not convey our sentiments as adequately as the cries of excitement and delight, the laughter and smiles of the children of the SDC, exploring an environment subtly designed to carry the learning experience from the classroom to the playground. Many thanks again to Eric Sundback, the visionary designer and key sponsor of our outdoor landscaping project; Pete Spaulding; the generous donors of our 2008-2009 Annual Fund; and grants from Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation, and the Corporation of Shepherdstown. Now, with the assistance of Mr. Sundback, we are moving forward to complete our outdoor renovations with the final touches to our new parking lot, complete with curbing, sidewalks, and beautiful trees.
In 2010, we are in the middle of the third year of our Pre-K Program. The SDC is one of a handful of institutions selected by the Jefferson County Board of Education to implement the state mandated Pre-K collaborative. Our full-day Pre-K program provides children with the tools they need for their future education. Our Pre-K class, and children throughout the SDC, are benefiting from our fourth Arts Enrichment Grant from the Mardi Gras Fund, which exposes our children to a variety of musical forms, dance classes, and storytelling events. In addition, in 2010 SDC received a grant from the Arts and Humanities Alliance of Jefferson County, which is enabling a local potter to work with small groups of our children. The children (and staff) are having a ball working with clay!
We've also launched some new initiatives for our staff: The Shepherdstown Day Care Staff Development Forum is providing credentialed training to our staff and other childcare teachers in our community. The love of learning that we seek to imbue in our children is well established in our staff, who have really appreciated the new training opportunities. The staff has also taken on the challenge of pursuing accreditation with the National Association For Education of Young Children this is a voluntary, multi-year process that is designed to strengthen all aspects of early childhood programming. Our staff is special, and our parents know it and they demonstrated their support yet again by raising funds so the staff could have Christmas bonuses.
Fundraising is never easy, especially in this economy but it's exactly because of this economy that the SDC and its families need our support. Over the course of 2009, we received financial support from state, county, and local governments, and as a United Way of the Eastern Panhandle partner agency we have received support from the United Way and the Combined Federal Campaign; we are also tremendously grateful for the support we have received from churches, businesses, service organizations, corporate foundations like the Penn National Gaming Foundation, and last, but not least, individual donations. The number of individual donations we received as a result of our Annual Fund effort was truly touching and is having a great impact, and our Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which enables donors to offset the difference between operating revenue and expenses is making a real difference. The response to the TAP program from individuals, businesses, and churches is making a true difference in the lives of our children and their families. Another group that makes a difference is The Friends of the Shepherdstown Day Care, which helps the SDC via fundraisers like The Run By The River 5K (which doubled in size last year), the hot dog stand and raffle during the Shepherdstown StreetFest, and the annual Wine Auction we are indeed fortunate to have such great friends.
The support we have received from our community over the past year has been both humbling and inspiring, but it has also been vital to the SDC's ability to provide affordable, quality day care for the children of the Panhandle. In this difficult economy, families are hurting, and the SDC is there to support them. We charge tuition for our 2-5 year-olds according to a sliding scale tied to family income level, enabling families that want to work or further their education to pursue their dreams. Fully half of our children come from families living at or below the poverty level; 40% of our children receive tuition assistance from the State but this assistance falls far short of the actual cost of day care, and costs the SDC more than $60,000 each year. In the classroom, we see only children eager to grow and learn, but in our balance sheet we see a different picture But this is a picture that we can change with your help. Together, we can create an environment that benefits our children, families, and community not just today, but tomorrow, and for years to come. Thank you for your continuing and loyal support of The Shepherdstown Day Care.
The Board of Directors,
Day Care Center
For more information about the Shepherdstown Day Care, please contact us at 876-6923 or visit our website at www.shepherdstowndaycare.org. If you'd like to make a donation to the SDC, you can mail your donation to The Shepherdstown Day Care, P.O. Box 388, Shepherdstown, WV 25443.