Editor’s note: The following article is the third in a series about visits to local non-profit organizations via United Way of Greater Nashua’s “Seeing is Believing” tours. Agencies profiled in this series run programs supported by donations to UWGN’s community impact fund.
As a Nashua native, visiting the Adult Learning Center on Lake Street brought back a lot of memories for me. I remember the building as the James B. Crowley School, which was where my father went to grammar school. I went to high school with Executive Director Carol Baldwin, and the Early Childhood Adventures Director Jane Marquis was a classmate of mine. They opened my eyes to some amazing work going on with young children who attend the childcare program at the Adult Learning Center.
I was impressed with how the childcare rooms are set up by age. Our first visit was with the babies. Some are tiny infants and others are just learning to walk. The love and care they’re given is incredible.
We visited all the different rooms. The three-to-four-year-olds were at different stations in their room. One teacher was teaching a boy how to sign his name, Jeremy. I said, “My name is Jamie, and it starts with J, too.” Next thing I knew, they were trying teach me my name in sign language!
The children were constantly learning as they were playing. They sat around a table coloring shapes, numbers, and letters. The teacher would ask them to identify the shape…a star, a square? What color is it? And they would respond. We also saw volunteers reading to children. What a great way to give back to our community!
After touring the freshly painted and rehabbed gymnasium, we went out to the playground. The kids all get outside for fresh air and a place where they can get exercise and be safe.
On one end of the property near the playground sits the new children’s greenhouse. This will teach the children to plant and grow vegetables and learn where their food comes from. The hope is this will spur parents to make healthy food choices and maybe plant their own garden if they have that ability.
The Early Childhood Adventures program at the Adult Learning Center serves children from all walks of life. Some are from working families that can’t afford the full cost of daycare, so they pay based on a sliding scale. United Way of Greater Nashua funding helps fill the gap so the parents can go to work. If the parents’ income goes up, their childcare fee goes up, but they still get the financial assistance for which they qualify. The reason they can get the pay increase is because they can go to work and know their child is in a safe, clean environment with professionals who care for and teach the kids. The Early Childhood Adventures program helps these kids get a good head start so they will be socially and educationally ready for public school.
Sign up for an agency tour
United Way of Greater Nashua invites you to participate in the Seeing is Believing agency tours. Sign up via the following links (click on the time of the tour you’d like to attend):
Wed., May 13, 2015, Tour Options:
8:00 – 8:45 AM: Southern NH Services Child Development Center
9:00 – 9:45 AM: Adult Learning Center
11:00 – 11:45 AM: Lamprey Health Care Center
12:00 – 12:45 PM: The Front Door Agency
4:00 – 4:45 PM: Family Promise at Anne-Marie House
5:00 – 5:45 PM: Girls, Inc.
Jamie Pappas is accounting supervisor at Monarch Instrument in Amherst and volunteers on United Way of Greater Nashua’s Board of Directors. She also co-chairs the Day of Caring Committee.