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It has been said that our children are tomorrow’s leaders, our hope for the community’s future.
Therefore, it is important that they receive proper guidance and encouragement, and are taught respect and caring for others, as well as integrity and character, while retaining their own personality and individuality.
Vandalia and the surrounding areas are fortunate to have many young families with children. The parents, guardians and other caregivers are also fortunate to have several child care and learning center/facilities available.
The Fayette Faces' focus will be on the area’s varied child care establishments in weeks ahead, beginning with the two most recent entries into child care.
Family Worship’s “Horizon”
When Vicky Blackerby’s King’s Treasure Child Care recently closed, two long-time employees, Rachel Stewart and Amy LeDuc, decided to branch out, each with her own child care.
They shared concern for the transition of the children, that they would be perhaps be going to unfamiliar surroundings and faces.
Stewart, director of Horizons Child Care and Learning Center, is very enthused and happy in her chosen occupation – caring for children … and also very busy.
On entering the Horizon door, the children (of all ages) were found to be enjoying themselves in various age-related activities. There was a hum of activity as the children were playing and creating. One age group was painting designs and faces on little pumpkins.
When Stewart began her present position, she was well aware of the responsibilities it entailed. She had worked in the King’s Treasure Day Care for nine years, and when it closed, she wanted to continue with caring for the children. She explained how her wishes were fulfilled.
“The Family Worship Center owns the daycare. They had been looking for a while to have a daycare open at their church, so I came over as the director,” she said. “God just put it in place for us. The church had been looking for a while, and I became available.”
The planning actually began in January 2012, “and it was quite a long process to get open,” Stewart said. “We are still kind of fine-tuning everything.”
At present, they are at about half of their capacity. “We can hold 70 children and we have about 33. We are working on that now, to increase our attendance. We have children from 6 weeks old to 12 years,” she said.
Along with her on-hands experience of nine years, Stewart also has an associate in child care. “You have to be licensed, so there is a lot of paperwork to do,” she said.
“We have six ladies on staff – Brandy Conway, Katherine Hebenstreit, Amber Durbin, Angie Durbin, Estelle Davis, and myself. They are wonderful, dependable and just great with the kids.”
She also credits the church family and all the people who has given of their time to help.
And the Kids
Rachael brought some of the kids with her from King’s Treasure. “That was something that was brought up,” she said. “Miss Amy (LeDuc) from King’s Treasure started a daycare, and it was actually her thing that she wanted a smaller group of kids.
“She was going to take the 2’s through preschool, which left the little bitty guys and the older ones. The more she talked and the more that came about, I thought,
‘These parents need somewhere to go.’
“They were all very concerned and God laid it on my heart. I called Pastor Tracy (Zimmerman) and asked him if they would be interested. “
He was interested. In fact, they (the church) had started the process, but since King’s Treasure opened, they didn’t go ahead with it.
“So it all worked out,” she said. “We did have quite a few kids come from King’s Treasure.
“We try to provide a warm atmosphere that they can come into, and learn and have fun,” she said. “We provide good, nutritious meals and snacks … and a loving environment.”
Their sometimes-necessary “time out” procedure is as follows: “We use little cars and a stop light. Each child has a little toy car with their name on it, and if there is a problem, their car gets moved to green, that is a warning, and then, if a problem continues, they go to yellow. Then, if it still continues, they go to red. They have an incentive each week, stickers and states. They can see their car visually, and if their car goes to red, they don’t get a sticker that day.”
Stewart credits not only her staff, but also the church family for giving their time to help.
Horizons is located at 1803 W. Janett Ave. in Vandalia, at the former home of the previous Agape Church. It is open Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“We accept financial assistance, like Project Child, and we have some families, like foster families – DCFS (Department of Children & Family Services) provides for that,” she said.
“We still have a lot of room for kids.”
She also said, “The Lord was in it; He was in all of it.”