August 21, 2015
The Children’s Nest, Audubon County’s only licensed childcare center, will be hosting a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Aug.28. The event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend and tour the new facility. The Children’s Nest developed from a series of meetings starting over two years ago regarding the consistent gap in available childcare slots in Audubon County. According to Census data, at any time Audubon County is lacking 20% of necessary childcare openings and the county has a higher percentage of dual income families needing childcare. In response, a group formed the Audubon County Early Childhood Organization (ACECO) which aims to support all forms of early childhood care. “After researching the need and discussing with local business, we decided to begin the fundraising for a childcare center in Audubon last November,” says Kate Hargens, board President. “It is truly a testament to the need and commitment of the community that in less than a year, we have raised the necessary funds and will be opening for business August 31st.” The center will be located in a renovated wing of the Friendship Home and will have 4 rooms for different ages of children. Between grants, fundraisers and private donations, the group has raised close to $250,000 which will pay for the renovations, equipment and furnishings and initial operating costs. Currently, The Children’s Nest has hired a Center Director, Jodi Kirchner and one staff member, Mary Wede. As enrollment increases, The Children’s Nest expects to employ 7 staff and have the capacity for 45 full time children. “Childcare centers are so valuable to communities. As a parent, I understand how hard it is to leave young children to return to work. Working families deserve to have access to reliable, high quality care when making the decision of where to send their children,” states Hargens. “We are lucky in Audubon County to have very wonderful in home childcare providers, unfortunately, there just aren’t enough of them.”
According to Early Childhood Iowa, “There are 2000 days between birth and the first day of kindergarten. The first 2000 days of a child’s life have a profound and lifelong impact on physical and emotional wellbeing, readiness to learn and succeed, and ability to become a productive citizen.” According to Hargens, since the beginning of this process, The Children’s Nest has always intended to be a place of learning and growth for young children, not just a place to drop kids. Once The Children’s Nest is up and running, ACECO intends to continue supporting early childhood efforts through support of in home providers and possibly the creation of an after school program for older kids.
The Children’s Nest encourages everyone to come for the Grand Opening. “We really want to show the community what their support has built. The Children’s Nest is a beautiful center and we really want to share it with the community,” says Hargens. The Ribbon Cutting will be at 4 pm with an Open House following until 6 pm. The Children’s Nest is located in a renovated wing of the Friendship Home at 714 N Division St in Audubon. If you are interested in childcare or have questions, please visit www.audubonchildrensnest.com
Courtesy of Audubon Advocate Journal, 8/21/15.