Every Child Early Learning Center, Inc. is a specialized daycare for children with and without special needs opening in Page County VA, August 1st 2023.
What I Need:
After months of looking for the perfect space, I found a commercial building space that is perfect for what we need. However, due to being a startup, the landlord is requesting 6 months of rent up front in order to secure the location. With the overhead costs and startup costs needed for the first 6 months of operation, including paying my staff for those first 6 months, I am hoping to raise $75k through donations from friends and family, community members, local businesses, and grants and other funding. I need your help to make this happen. If 750 people donated only $100, we would have this center fully funded for 6 months while we get off the ground and transfer into our fully self-sustaining mode/phase of the business.
Please donate what you can. If you can donate $100, please do. If you can donate more, we appreciate your willingness to donate to our startup that was created to meet the needs of so many in our community. If you can't spare $100, whatever you can spare will help and is appreciated. Most of all, your support means more than you know!
About Me, Jenna Smith (owner and one of the directors for Every Child ELC):
I grew up in Northern Virginia in a home that lived to serve and give back to our community. I went to college and attended my university's business school, receiving a degree in recreation management and youth leadership with a minor in nonprofit management. I completed over 500 hours in internships working with nonprofits, fundraising, and grant writing. Shortly after graduation, I began working as a program manager and caretaker for people with disabilities, working with kids, teens, and adults. From 2016 on, I have primarily worked as a caretaker for people with special needs. In 2019, I began my masters in teaching special education k-12, and graduated in 2021 during my first year of teaching special education with Fairfax County Public Schools. I am in my 2nd year of teaching, and am working on my early childhood special education add on for my teaching license. I teach an Intensive Special Education class at Luray Elementary School, and love my job! I also have 3 kids of my own. My 5 year old and 3 year old sons both have autism and sensory processing disorder, though my 5 year old (also with ADHD) is higher functioning than my 3 year old. I am also a fierce advocate for the families of children with special needs in our community. Working to get a fully inclusive playground for Page County, and to advocate for more inclusion and equity for our children and families with special needs.
What Encouraged Me to Start Every Child ELC:
When my son Jaxon was 2.5, we knew he had some delays and he was found eligible for services through the Infant Toddler Connection. When he was approaching his 3rd birthday, he was found eligible for special education services through the school system. He was on his first day of services when he got asked to not return to the local daycare. It was EMOTIONAL. His teacher was and is amazing and an incredible mom and human being, but she was not trained on how to handle his disability and the center was not equipped to provide him with what he needed to be safe and cared for. The teachers at his previous daycare had HUGE hearts and are GOOD people who tried their best to help my son, but it doesn't change the fact that the center itself was not equipped for children with special needs. Unfortunately I need child care to work, so it left me in a predicament that MANY other parents have been facing for years. So I knew it was time to do what needed to be done, for my son, and for others in similar shoes.
About Every Child Early Learning Center, Inc.:
Every child, with or without a disability, deserves a safe place to learn, play, and grow! It takes a village and Every Child Learning Center is excited to become part of that village in Page County, VA. Opening soon, Every Child ELC is a center for children of all ages & abilities. Staff will have specialized training to ensure the safety and well-being of all children under our care. ECELC was created with the hope to fill a void of child care options in our area for children with disabilities who require a more specialized setting. Staff will be trained on each child’s specific needs & equipped with the resources needed for them. Whether your child has a disability or not, our center will be a place where your child can play & learn, and most importantly interact and socialize with those of all abilities. We will be happy to work with you to provide any accommodation that will help your child be cared for, loved, and most importantly, physically & emotionally safe.
Needs of Page County that We Aim to Fill:
1. Daycare for kids across Page County, including transportation for kids in the county who need it, especially out in Shenandoah (less access to affordable childcare)
2. Special needs care– including full day care for some, and before and after school for others including for kids in half day pre-k programs, possible sick care, drop-in care, and extended care (whose hours better match the shifts of the workers in our community)
3. We have had a lot of people donate items for the classrooms of the daycare and have gotten good deals on other necessary and specialized equipment and materials for the center, including receiving a Hoyer Lift and a high-low chair.
4. In-town therapies such as ABA, speech therapy, and occupational therapy (right now, people are traveling 45-90 min to get therapies, and many have 6-12 month waitlists at that)
5. Working towards providing in-house sign ups for parents and families to access benefits such as medicaid, food stamps, WIC, child care subsidy, disability, etc., as well as potentially having boxes from the food pantry for families in need.
6. Affordable rates for our families, accepting the subsidy first and foremost.
7. Jobs! Well-paying, highly-appreciated employees who want to be there, are respected and valued, who have access to insurance benefits if needed, are provided in-house paid training and hands on experience, whose mental and physical health are prioritized, and whose feedback and expertise are welcomed and appreciated.