The sound of children playing came from within the walls of Sunshine Day Care again Monday. The sound was a relief to the center’s new director and board members who spent the better part of the last couple of months working there to get it reopened.
A ribbon cutting and open house were held last Wednesday, March 8 at the center, at 110 NE Grant Street. A large crowd came out to see the finished product of a freshened up facility.
“The sound of screaming kids, that’s honestly what you want a day care filled with, and the chaos,” Smith said at the end of the day Monday. “It did go really well.”
A Greenfield native, Smith worked at Sunshine while she was in high school. She loves kids and went on to study elementary education in college.
“[While in college] I also worked at a day care center. I also did some substitute teaching, but I always knew I wanted to get into more of the management side. When this position opened, I said it really is my dream job,” said Smith. “It’s nice being in my hometown knowing that I’m making a big difference.”
When Smith applied for the director position, the day care was still a work in progress. Old finishes were ripped apart and new finishing touches were yet to be realized. Smith said she’s very impressed with the work that the board did to freshen up the facility both in appearance and organizationally before reopening.
Additional new staff members Becky Parkis (lead teacher for 2-10 year olds), Makayla McIntosh (lead teacher for the infants) and Abi Newbury have all been a big help early on.
“I could not speak more highly of my staff. Becky’s so good at being calm and redirecting. Makayla is currently pursuing early childhood education, so it’s really nice to have that new and fresh viewpoint. Abi is so much fun and brings that excitement. She is so eager to work with the kids,” Smith said.
Long-term goals the center has is creating a new after school program, possibly in another facility. Another is to continue growing the center at least closer to capacity.
As a non-profit that has a board and by-laws it adheres to, Sunshine Day Care’s leadership appreciated several individuals and businesses in the community who gave to its reopening process recently. There were 19 businesses and 35 individuals who were recognized on posters during the open house as donors, along with 20 individuals or groups who volunteered during that time.
The day care’s current board includes Katelyn Brashear (chair), Pat Reeves (vice chair), Katie Stender (secretary), Stacie Eshelman (treasurer), Jessica Beatty Smith, Tyler Heckman and Lisa Rardin.
Smith said the open house was a great event. Staff and board members were thankful so many community members turned out on a rainy day to show their support for Sunshine, which has been in operation since 1995.
“There were so many people here from start to finish. I was speechless at how many people showed up,” Smith said. “It was really great. People had nice things to say about the changes, the staff and bringing their kids back. It was really nice having those kinds of support from the community. I think that’s what I liked coming back to a small town for.”