Children’s Harbor childcare center celebrates first anniversary

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Pre-K teacher Trinice Duffy, left, stands with students during a first anniversary celebration Wednesday, April 26, for Children's Harbor - Eastern Shore near Onancock. Photo by Carol Vaughn.

BY CAROL VAUGHN, Eastern Shore Post

Children’s Harbor Eastern Shore celebrated its first anniversary Wednesday, April 26, marking the day with a cake, a slideshow presentation, and remarks by the chief executive officer, the center director, and a childcare specialist on staff.

Childcare specialist Ann Williams thanked Delegate Rob Bloxom and Sen. Lynwood Lewis, who were in attendance, for their advocacy in getting $250,000 in state funding for the facilty, near Onancock.

Additionally, the Eastern Shore of Virginia Community Foundation granted $50,000 and the Soroptomist Club donated to the facility.

Lewis called provision of childcare by the center “part of economic development for our community, and hopefully they will be able to expand it.”

Bloxom said about when he and Lewis were approached about finding funding for the center, “There was a need. They came to us and I think Lyn and I both felt the importance of it and we went to Richmond and it was good to help.”

Lewis credited Williams with leading the push to bring a Children’s Harbor to the Shore.

Children’s Harbor CEO Wayne Bell Jr. gave highlights of the first year, including growing the center from an initial enrollment of 19 to 56 now.

“We are very excited that the community believed in the vision,” he said, adding, “This facility impacts so many lives.”

The goal is to reach 60 enrolled by the end of May, with additional summer enrollment anticipated.

The center opened last year with 13 employees and now has 15, Bell said.

The center was given a two-year license and in five health inspections, passed with no violations, according to Bell.

Additionally, the center’s preschool teacher received one of the highest scores in the state from an external observation, Bell said.

Williams noted pediatric therapists from a local agency are at the center several days per week to assist several clients who are enrolled there.

Bell said 35 of 56 children enrolled receive some type of financial subsidy.

“We believe that no child should be left behind,” he said.

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