SIDNEY — Wilma Valentine Childcare is making Match Day a double celebration. They are celebrating the center’s 25th anniversary and helping the Community Foundation mark their 65th.
Wilma Valentine Childcare provides childcare for children with special needs and their typical peers. In 2016, the program served 79 preschool age children, some of whom have a diagnosis such as Downs Syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and behavior issues. The high levels of care require a greater number of staff, more than traditional childcare centers. Wilma Valentine Childcare continues one of its founding principles to turn no child away because of their care needs.
“The high care needs of our children requires a highly skilled staff and carefully structured field trips and on-site programs,” said Nancy Stiefel, executive director of Wilma Valentine Childcare. “Match Day resources will help us offset the costly training to keep staff proficient and to enable us to do the social and educational programs that give our kids experiences not possible in the classroom setting.”
Stiefel hopes to extend the summer social development program into the school year. This program allows staff to take children on field trips to various community locations or to bring programs on-site. Field trips are costly as the childcare center pays for transportation staff, bus mileage, entrance fees, and additional staff to help children with mobility or other needs to participate in the experience.
Depending upon the generosity of Match Day donors, Wilma Valentine Childcare hopes to increase its tuition assistance program and expand the use of sick vouchers offered to families. “The tuition assistance portion would be for short term assistance to a family, as we cannot afford to give a family a continuous reduced rate and we will continue to accept the federal subsidy,” noted Stiefel. “The sick vouchers will allow a family an increase in sick days for their child should they have an ongoing medical need. We have already extended an increase of this to a child with special circumstances this year.”
Gifts must be made payable to the Community Foundation of Shelby County with: “Match/Wilma Valentine” noted on the memo or in an accompanying note or form. Details and forms are available at the Community Foundation website at www.commfoun.com. Gifts must be received on or before Nov. 28 to be eligible for up to $5,000 in matching money.