Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
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This article was published 11/6/2018 (789 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Children in the preschool program at La Salle KIDZ Inc. Daycare Centre were busy painting signs on June 5.
The signs being created for the grand opening event on June 9 mark years of effort on the part of a group of La Salle volunteers. Centre chair, and one of the longtime volunteers, Jenn Penner was facing her own personal daycare dilemma when she started advocating nine years ago for a public daycare centre in La Salle.
"I found that I didn’t have a lot of options in town," Penner recalls. She was able to find childcare in Sanford, but stayed committed to working for a La Salle centre.
"I felt that we were missing something in this community," Penner said.
She and the other volunteers who formed La Salle KIDZ Inc. as a non-profit organization looked for a suitable space for a centre, but it was the construction of the LSCU Complex that brought the break they needed. Once the recreation complex, which shares a parking lot with the daycare centre on PTH 247, opened in February 2014, the community club’s former space became available.
LSCU Complex board secretary Brian Cornelsen said the board and La Salle KIDZ Inc. members formed a partnership that allowed them to successfully obtain provincial government funding for the new centre. Initially there was concern that the space might not be large enough to house a viable daycare, but those fears were allayed.
"The big change came when the capital grant became available," Cornelsen said, referring to a $299,000 provincial grant given in 2015.
The centre is licensed to provide care for 12 infants and 48 pre-school children. Executive director Lidan Xu said there are now 10 infants, 16 toddlers and 23 older children registered.
"We’re close to being full," Xu said.
So far the centre’s children are La Salle residents, but Xu said she’s now contacting families from outside the community who are interested in using the centre.
Over the years, Penner and the other KIDZ volunteers held many fundraisers and received a portion of the money raised through the La Salle annual charity golf tournament.
When they recently put out a call for toys to be donated to the centre, Penner said the response was incredible.
Cornelsen said the La Salle branch of Caisse Financial Group (formerly the La Salle Credit Union) financed the new centre. The RM of Macdonald supported municipal approvals.
While the daycare centre’s door are now open and her children are well past daycare age, Penner is still committed to helping Xu and ensuring the new centre will become an important part of the community.
"The centre allows the community to keep growing but also serves the existing community’s need," she said.
For more information on La Salle KIDZ Inc. Daycare Centre, see the centre’s Facebook page and website at www.lasallekidz.ca
Community journalist — The Headliner
Andrea Geary is the community journalist for The Headliner. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org Call her at 204-697-7124
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