Make the McKenzie Connection!

Child care returns

New center aids families affected by fire

BLUE RIVER: The McKenzie School District opened its McKenzie Little Eagles Child Care Center last Thursday. The new offering fills the child care gap left by the devastating Holiday Farm Fire.

Previously, there wasn't a licensed child care facility within the school district boundary, making it hard for families to return to work after COVID. Families returning to the McKenzie Valley as rebuilding continues have faced similar challenges. Organizers say it's hoped the center will help attract new families to the area.

The new childcare center is a part of the McKenzie School District's ongoing efforts to serve the community and provide a valuable service to families who need it.

"Our community was devastated by the 2020 fires, and our families have been struggling to get back on their feet," said Lane Tompkins, McKenzie Schools Superintendent. "We recognize the need for reliable and affordable child care in our community, and we see this as a way to build back and attract new Eagles."

The Little Eagles Child Care Center will help grow the economy by adding jobs and providing a safe place for families to begin their early childhood education and enhance their social wellbeing.

This new center will offer young students safe spaces that allow children to learn, both through education and socially. New staff members will be at the open house to meet parents and community members.

"We have been counting down the days till the Little Eagle childcare opens. Finding quality child care upriver can be a huge challenge. Thankfully, this center will give our daughter a chance to play and learn with peers while getting better prepared for school," said Angie Smith, parent of a 3-year-old entering this program.

Over the last year, the district ran a fundraising campaign to make the center a reality. So far, local donors have raised $420,000 to fund the center. "As the new childcare center Director for the McKenzie School District, I am thrilled for this opportunity and am impressed by the community and donor support to make this happen," said Director of the Childcare Center, Jessica Marie. "As childcare is essential for working families, I think this will be a fantastic resource for the regrowth of this community."


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