Laker Prep receives $14,875 from Essentia Health for child care CPR and first aid certification programs

Laker Prep received a donation from Essentia Health to facilitate 2023 CPR and first aid certification classes for child care providers in Becker County on Dec. 22.

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From the left: Mary and Eric Rotter, owner/operators of Laker Prep, Michele Schons, a Becker County child care provider, and Cheryl Walter, community health specialist at Essentia Health, smile while holding a contribution check from Essentia Health to Laker Prep for holding CPR/First Aid certification classes for county child care providers on Dec. 22, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES — A Detroit Lakes child care provider received $14,875 from Essentia Health to provide 2023 CPR and first aid certification classes for Becker County child care providers on Dec. 22.

Laker Prep will conduct the certification classes throughout 2023 and the grant will help area child care providers experiencing cost barriers for the mandatory, lifesaving certification.

"The training that's required to be a licensed (child care) provider in the state of Minnesota costs a lot of money, and (CPR/first aid certification) is one of the added costs that is a reason why it's perceived that child care costs so much money, because we have to follow a lot of rules, but they are very important rules," said Mary Rotter, owner and operator of Laker Prep. "It's one way that (Laker Prep) wants to move forward in servicing our community and reaching out, so that all providers can get this taken off their plate and be able to spend that money in a different way."

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To qualify for the CPR and first aid certification cost assistance, a child care provider must:

  • Currently work for, or hold, an active license for child care (Rule 2 or 3), or certified center license from the state of Minnesota, located in Becker County.
  • Would otherwise pay for CPR/first aid on their own, through business budget, where no other funds have been granted to the program to provide this certification.
  • Attend and complete CPR/first aid via specified training locations set up through Laker Prep Early Childhood’s partnerships.

In an email, Rotter stated the training is open to any community member as well, if they pay out of pocket. The certification class dates are still to-be-determined, but anyone interested in signing up should contact Laker Prep at 218-844-5600, or reach out to Detroit Lakes Community Education, or their local child care association for more details.
"This was just one meaningful way that we could get money into the hands of (Becker County) providers and, basically, just allowing them to know that they can get their certifications without worrying about the cost behind that," said Cheryl Walter, an Essentia Health community health specialist. "It's important to make sure that we know the child care providers are supported throughout the community. If we don't have wonderful child care providers, our children won't thrive."


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She added Essentia Community Health also has future grant prospects with Muhube-Otwa and Ecumen to provide additional child care support for area families in coming months.

"For family child care, I think it's going to provide, not only services, but more education for those providers that maybe want to become a provider," said Michele Schons, a Becker County child care provider. "As a daycare association, we do provide training and it's based on what has already been setup, so if you are new coming in, you are trying to scramble to find this CPR/first aid, so it's a fabulous thing being provided."

Rotter also said the CPR/first aid certifications have been hard to access in the past, and every person who works at a child care facility needs to be certified. If providers don't have the certification, they can be fined and possibly lose their license.

The certification training and grant funding will be the first programs for Laker Prep as it transitions to a non-profit entity on Jan. 2, 2023, said Rotter.

"We hope to be able to access other grants (as a nonprofit) to provide services and not continue to raise costs and also supporting the workforce and really standing behind these professionals to make a living wage," she said.

Lead Multimedia Reporter for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus.
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