Reliable childcare is a crucial cornerstone of economic prosperity – and it’s hard to find in St. Lawrence County.
Care comes primarily from home day care providers, with only four day care centers in the entire county. As New York State’s largest county by area and a population of more than 111,000, this isn’t nearly enough to support the families who call St. Lawrence County home.
Since January 2015, Canton Day Care Center has experienced a dramatic uptick in demand for our services from the community. In 2016 alone, we were unable to assist 30 families looking for infant care as we were already operating at full capacity. This means that for many families in St. Lawrence County, parents were not able to work due to a lack of childcare, with extreme strain being put on single parents.
While the demand for care is growing, the overall trend throughout the county is a reduction in childcare providers for all ages. It’s becoming harder and harder to find suitable childcare. This has a significant impact on the economic stability of many families and on the productivity of the local economy.
We’re hoping to make this problem a thing of the past.
Our board of directors has launched a capital campaign, raising money to permanently increase the Center’s total capacity from 58 to 110 children – nearly doubling our capacity.
The goal of this campaign is to raise $450,000 from individuals and grant organizations.
When we moved into our current facility in 2008, we had high hopes to use both floors in our building. The Great Recession nixed plans to build out our upper floor, and it remains a blank canvas with great potential.
Renovating our second floor will construct four new classrooms and allow us to move our preschoolers and school-age children upstairs. The existing space on the first floor will then be repurposed exclusively into infant and toddler space, increasing current capacity. It will also create 14 new jobs and help to preserve 15 current jobs by improving our financial sustainability. As a non-profit organization, we pride ourselves on providing childcare that is not only reliable and of high quality, but that is also accessible.
In August 2017, we moved our school-age program to the Canton Central School in order to temporarily increase total capacity at the Center and help alleviate the shortage of child care opportunities in the Canton area. The move has allowed us to double our capacity for children ages 18 months to 3 years, an age group with critically high demand. Overall, the move to Canton Central School increased our total capacity from 58 to 102 children.
Using funds raised in the spring of 2018 from our very first donor challenge with the Thompson-Weatherup Family Charitable Foundation, a component fund of the Northern New York Community Foundation, we were able to start phase one of our expansion project in mid-July 2018. This phase resulted in a finished open-floor concept, and the school-age program was re-opened and moved back into the space in August 2018. Our new school age program now has capacity for 40 children.
Phase two of our renovation is to build a new preschool room in the finished upstairs, allowing us to fully move our older age groups into the upstairs space, and freeing up an additional room in the existing downstairs space to re-purpose for additional infant care. To date, our capital campaign fundraising totals just over $100,000.
Our fundraising is ongoing and we are continuing to explore diverse avenues of funding. Please consider a donation of any amount to help support this project and support the community in turn!