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Small Blessings Preschool, Child Care Center to open its doors May 30 at DLUMC

Small Blessings, the new Child Care and Preschool Center at Detroit Lakes United Methodist Church, may not be set to open until May 30, but it already has its first enrollees -- twin brother and sister Reece and Sidney Borgmann.

Because the center's director, Daniela Zens, officially started work May 1, she was able to start caring for the twins in advance of the center's official opening -- and she had more than a few helping hands to assist her.

"I've had several volunteers come in here over the last few weeks," Zens says. Whether she needed help rocking and feeding the twins, or helping to set up the two preschool and childcare rooms, Zens had no difficulty finding someone to do the job.

"There are a lot of frustrated grandmothers whose own grandchildren are too far away (to care for on a daily basis)," says Mary Lynk, a member of the center's board of directors who counts herself in the above-mentioned group.

But the grandmothers aren't the only ones who have stepped forward.

"We really see it as an intergenerational project," Lynk adds, noting that they've had volunteers of all ages. "There are a lot of people in our church who would like to do what I'm doing (rocking one of the twins to sleep)."

When Small Blessings opens on May 30, it will be licensed to take as many as 14 kids, from six weeks old on up through grade-school age. There are, however, only a certain number of slots available for each age group, so early registration is important, notes Deb Wimmer, another member of the center's board of directors.

"We already have six children signed up," she says -- which means there are only eight slots left.

Plans for the childcare center began a year ago last fall, Wimmer adds.

"Pastor Bill (Meier) felt there was a need for quality childcare in the community, so we got a group together to determine if there really was a need," Wimmer explains.

Once that need had been confirmed, a board was organized to begin planning for the childcare center, which is now licensed as a non-profit organization through the church.

Church membership is not a requirement for enrolling in Small Blessings, however. Wimmer says the center is open to anyone in the community with a need for childcare and/or preschool services.

Because Small Blessings is licensed by Becker County as both a preschool and childcare center, its $24 per day fee incorporates both preschool and regular childcare services. School-age children can also be enrolled for after-school care, at a cost of $6 per day.

Wimmer says the startup costs were partially paid for by grants from West Central Initiative ($10,000), the DL Community Foundation ($1,000) and Child Care Resource & Referral ($1,500), but individuals in the DL United Methodist Church community also donated $20,000. In addition, the church is providing heat, electricity and other facility costs free of charge.

For more information, call 218-844-4817.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454