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The 2011 State of Day Care address: Building on success

By Staff | Feb 4, 2011

Children, parents, friends, staff and Board of the Shepherdstown Day Care Center (SDC), as the families of our community struggled to cope with the economic challenges of 2010, the Day Care stood by their side, and, true to its mission, provided “affordable, nurturing child care and enriching educational experiences for the children of working parents” The State of the Day Care is good; the Spirit of the Day Care is strong.

For 38 years, our non-profit Day Care has contributed to our community – through times of both growth and recession – and for 38 years our community has embraced and supported the Day Care and its mission of providing quality, affordable child care to the children of the Panhandle. Our community seems to have known intuitively, and for decades, what academic studies have only recently emphasized – that the foundations for learning and a productive adult life are formed in early childhood.

In 2010, support from the community enabled us to continue classroom programs that created strong foundations, touching children with the arts, and helping us with capital improvements that improves and enhanced the Center’s overall environment. The Arts and Humanities Alliance of Jefferson County and the West Virginia Council of the Arts provided funding for a pottery program that allowed our children to create with a local potter. For the fifth year, a grant from the Mardi Gras Fund brought music and dance to our classrooms (and, yes, the kids were incredibly cute!). The past year also saw the Day Care begin the fourth year of our Pre-K Program – we are honored to be one of a handful of day care centers selected by the Jefferson County Board of Education to fulfill this great responsibility. It’s worth noting that the SDC’s children aren’t the only ones who are learning and growing; our staff has increased their level of training and earned Tier II status from West Virginia’s Mountain Heart program – a recognition of the increasingly high quality of child care at the SDC. The past year’s accomplishments were not all academic, however; in the fall of 2010, the SDC received a generous gift of materials and labor from the Lowe’s Hero’s Award program that transformed the Center’s school-age room and turned our cafeteria into the SDC Cafe (Chef Boyd’s dream come true!). And generous donations from Eric Sundback are helping us complete our landscaping project.

When talk of the recession dominates the news, it’s not easy to mount successful fundraising efforts, but somehow the SDC did. The Run by the River 5K continues to grow, and we introduced a new fundraising event in 2010: a Halloween party (the party’s hosts, Eric and Joy Lewis, promise an even more hair- (and fund-) raising event in 2011. Those anticipating the SDC Wine Auction in 2010 don’t have long to wait – this elegant opportunity to stock your wine cellars with fine wines was rescheduled, and will take place on March 12 at the Shepherdstown Men’s Club. Fundraising events offer an opportunity to mix fun with fundraising, but are only one component of the SDC’s overall fundraising efforts. These efforts are supported by our state, county and local governments, and as a United Way of the Eastern Panhandle partner agency we have received great support from the United Way and the Combined Federal Campaign. We are also very, very grateful for the support we continue to receive from churches, businesses, service organizations and, of course, our loyal individual donors. These individual donors are one of the reasons our Annual Fund effort continues to be so successful; individual donors, as well as businesses and churches, are also key to the success of our Tuition Assistance Program, which enables donors to help us to offset the difference between operating revenue and expenses.

Why is there a difference between operating revenue and expenses? The answer lies at the heart of the Day Care’s mission: we offer quality, affordable child care to working families. We charge tuition for our 2- to 5-year-olds according to a sliding scale tied to family income level, enabling families that want to work or further their education the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Fully half of our children come from families living at or below the poverty level; almost 50 percent 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 this era of the “Great Recession,” families are hurting and, thanks to your support, the SDC is there to help them. Your support is more than touching and more than appreciated, and it brings with it a level of responsibility we are glad to accept and exceed. Together, we are creating a safe, caring and nourishing environment for our community’s children, and providing them with the foundation skills they need to meet the challenges of their future.

Donn Marshall

Board of Directors