Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

Daycare facility important to success

Obtaining a daycare license is the main hurdle to cross for the doors to open at the Minden Teen Challenge Family Center.

Certain criteria must be met to secure a daycare license, according to Amy Smothers, future director of the daycare that will be an important part of the residential rehabilitation program for mothers and children.

The daycare will be housed in one of the five wings of the 32,000-square-foot facility, once home to the Evergreen School and more recently home to the Bernice Community Rehab.

"We have to get the building ready, Smothers said. "We have an architect that is going to come out and draw up the plans and we have a few walls to take out and flooring that needs to be put in," she continued.

Not only do certain standards have to be met but funds have to be raised. Teen Challenge is a non-profit organization and, according to James Smothers, director of the family center, historically 20 to 25 percent of their funding has come through churches.

"The other five or 10 percent is just by the seat of your pants – trusting God," he said.

Inmates from the Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center will build the daycare furniture, according to Amy Smothers but the materials will cost $18,000.

Along with the funds to build the furniture, items that are needed to complete the daycare are carpet, playground equipment, fencing materials to construct a fence around the playground and toys for the babies and children.

Funds are also needed to purchase state-standard daycare items such as highchairs, and baby beds.

"At this point, the center is run on funds from individuals, from fund-raising banquets and folks who pledge at events on weekends where basically we go to churches to itinerate for the center," said James Smothers.

"Long-term we are an industry-based program so 40 to 60 percent of our funds will come from something," said James Smothers.

To help with funding for the center, the goal is to eventually open the daycare to the public and for students to do light industry type work, such as, grow poinsettias to sell in the wintertime and blueberries to sell in the summertime.

Anyone interested in donating funds or items to the Minden Teen Challenge Family Center can call 382-0203.






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