WOOD RIVER — The Stick Creek Kids Child Development Center in Wood River received a $60,000 discretionary grant from the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation Monday at a ceremony at the Wood River Community Room.

According to Amy Price, foundation’s program coordinator, the funds will be disbursed over the next three years.

“The programming of the center will have a game-changing impact on children for generations to come,” Price said.

She said a shortage of child care providers plagues the region, so Stick Creek Kids “opens up much-needed child care spots.”

At Stick Creek Kids, Price said, a “developmentally appropriate and child-centered curriculum will fill an existing void for high quality care from birth to age 4.

She said that Stick Creek Kids will “complement the school’s existing preschool for 4-year-olds by offering a 3-year-old preschool program, as well as before/after school care and summer education and activities.”

“Today, preschool is only available to 4-year-olds so Wood River children aren’t entering school as prepared as they should,” she said.

According to Price, 56% of Wood River Elementary students use the free and reduced-price lunch program.

Stick Creek Kids “fully expects to be serving a limited income clientele along with middle income families,” she said.

“Nutritional meals and snacks will be served via the USDA food program,” Price said.

Also, Stick Creek Kids will eventually add 10 quality jobs to the Wood River community.

Price said the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation Distribution Committee members reviewed the grant request and were both “impressed and inspired by the forward-thinking vision and well-supported application.”

“We are excited about the impact this center will have on a community that has experienced great loss and stress from the spring flooding,” she said.

In July of last year, Wood River Vision 20/20 and Stick Creek Kids Child Development Center announced the purchased of the former Good Samaritan Society-Wood River building.

Good Samaritan Society has agreed to the reduced market rate of $100,000 on the building with a $1.4 million tax-assessed value.

Wood River suffered from two devastating floods last March and July, along with announcement that Good Samaritan nursing home there was closing.

Community organizers, upon learning about the closing of the nursing home, quickly put together a plan to use the facility for the Stick Creek Kids Child Development Center.

The project is driven by Wood River Vision in response to a critical shortage of child care in Central Nebraska. The Stick Creek Kids capital campaign set a goal of nearly $2 million to remodel and furnish the new nonprofit child care center to serve children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. Any excess funds will be held in a fund to help provide long-term financial sustainability and provide scholarships for low-income children to attend the center.

Beginning in late 2017, Wood River Vision 20/20 began exploring the child care demand and caregiver capacity, both now and looking to the future. Responses to a child care survey conducted in January 2018 showed 65 households would consider using child care in Wood River if it were available. The proposed Stick Creek Kids Child Development Center will be a nonprofit child development center with the capacity to serve up to 80 children at a time (more when factoring in part-timers). It will be open weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (dependent upon families’ schedules). The center will be owned by Wood River Vision 20/20.

The Greater Grand Island Community Foundation was established in 1960 with the mission to preserve and enhance the quality of life in Central Nebraska and assist donors in realizing their charitable goals. Accredited by the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, the foundation serves hundreds of donors through individual, family and corporate legacy funds.

“The Greater Grand Island Community Foundation is excited to announce a $60,000 discretionary grant awarded to the Stick Creek Kids Child Development Center in Wood River,” Price said. “The programming of the center will have a game-changing impact on children for generations to come.”

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