Our Opinion: Local children, day care receive well-deserved assistance

A good deed may be its own reward, but recognition in the form of a helping hand is welcome.

Jefferson City Day Care has been helping area families by nurturing and educating children since it opened in 1966. It has been in its current facility on Myrtle Drive since 1972.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced during a visit to the facility Tuesday that it has qualified for $200,000 in Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credits.

The tax credits, through the “Missouri Smart Start” initiative, will provide $400,000 in assistance, to be combined with funds dedicated by the center for needed renovations.

The project list includes: a new roof; kitchen renovations; new furnace; enhanced security; additional restrooms; added natural light; improved line of sight to monitor children; removal of a wide staircase that is not handicapped-accessible; and subdividing large, noisy rooms.

The nearly 12,000-square-foot facility provides early childhood education year round, primarily for children of low and moderate income families. It is licensed to serve 99 children, up to age 8.

During his announcement, Nixon discussed the center’s contribution to early children education.

“For more than four decades,” he said, “the Jefferson City Day Care Center has provided working families with access to affordable child care while helping young children learn the skills they need to be kindergarten-ready.”

He added: “Quality early childhood education can play an important role in the academic success of students and in turn, the strength of our future workforce. Simply put, early childhood education is a smart investment with a big return.”

Jefferson City Day Care is a United Way partner agency, and the ongoing United Way campaign is designed to assist the center’s operations.

The much-needed building improvements, however, will go a long way toward improving the structural safety, security and learning environment for children.

Director Donna Scheidt said the goal is to facilitate learning by keeping the children “safe, healthy and ready for school.”

We applaud everyone involved with Jefferson City Day Care for their service to our community and its children. And we are delighted the facility will receive deserved assistance for needed renovations.

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