Friday, September 1, 2017
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno cut ribbon on the newly installed playground at Morris Professional Child Care Services, Inc./The Children’s Creative Center, located at 29 Logan Street in Springfield. Attending the ceremony were Lori Santaniello, Senior Program Manager for the Springfield Office of Community Development, Martin A. Johnson, AVP Branch Officer of Berkshire Bank, Brandon Braxton, Vice President of Mass Development, Cindy Hutchinson, Early Childhood Coach, Mentor and Trainer for the Valley Opportunity Council, Amanda Thayer (Group and School Age Licensing Supervisor), Amy Carey (EEC Licensing Specialist), Beverly Pead (Assessment Coordinator and Adjunct Faculty at Springfield Technical Community College), and Alejandra Williams Board President of Morris Professional Child Care Services, Inc.
The Children’s Creative Center applied to the City of Springfield’s Rehab for Nonprofits program for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for the use of excavating and building a new playground for the two-dozen children served by the organization, giving them a fun, safe space to play with their peers. They were awarded $20,000 in CDBG funds for the project.
The Children’s Creative Center currently has 3 classrooms, 1 toddler room for 6, 1 preschool room for 16, and 1 infant room for 5. Meals and transportation are provided. 90% of the children served are from low income families, who receive state funding from New England Farm Workers Council to help pay for child care.
Mayor Sarno stated, “My administration always strives to help out businesses, whether large or small. This CDBG grant creates and enhances a domino effect of not only economic development, but also, education, recreation and just as important, ‘peace of mind’ that allows the children’s’ families the ability to pursue their careers/workfields, which makes for a better Springfield.”
Suzanne Morris, Executive Director, said, “Being in business for 24 years, Morris Professional Child Care Services, Inc. / The Children’s Creative Center has never in its history applied for any grants. When I saw the January, 2017 article entitled ‘City offers capital improvement grants to nonprofit organizations,’ I came into work that morning with it in hand and told my program director, ‘let’s apply’. This is our season of blessings, and of course she replied ‘let’s do it’! I felt confident that our site would be one of the chosen few to receive the grant. When we received the approval letter and the amount of funding, we were excited but had no time to celebrate because we had a lot of work to get done in such short time, but it didn’t stop us from preparing for what was ahead. We are working to improve our rating under MA DEEC’s QRIS (Quality Rating and Improvement System) provisions. But now with our on-site playground, we are able to provide the children with a safe area to play and enjoy their outside time.”
Nicole Coakley, Program Director added, “First, let me just say thank you to all those involved! Your understanding of how valuable and important building an accessible playground to give the children we serve a chance to play with their peers in a safe environment onsite during all four seasons means a lot to us. We were so honored to be one of the recipients of the CDBG grant to build our new playground to meet the physical activity needs of our children and to have the opportunity to apply for Level 4 of the QRIS, which will aid in CCC to continue providing high quality child care.”