Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 16, 2013

Closing the gap

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — "The school district is putting in an adjoining sidewalk," Lynch said. "The students can come over here during the day and won't have to go out to the street and walk around to get here. The chain link fence is coming down and there'll be a sidewalk from the parking lot to the door."

The partnership began with the curiosity of the church's pastor, the Rev. Daryl Bennett. When she came to the church three years ago, she said, the parish was interested in exploring ways to engage the school as a means of meeting its mission to spread God's love throughout the city.

But none of the ideas really stuck. Until the school informed her of the child care shortage they'd be creating with the closing of its in-school center.

So they began renovating the space in the church, including updating the sprinkler system in the entire building. They are in the process of creating a toddler and infant room. In all, they estimate the project to be $115,000 in work.

But then thoughts shifted to doing more with it. After a conversation with the district, they decided to do more, Bennett said.

"I spoke with (Assistant Superintendent) Mark Laurrie about what we could do," she said. "We talked about how we could provide child care and about how it could be more than that. We talked about how it could make a difference to more than just those few students."

Little Wonders became a full-service child care center for children ranging from 6 months to 12 years old, with before- and after-school services available for those students whose parents aren't able to see to their safety for whatever reason.

And with it, students from the high school without children could play a big role in the success of the program just as much, Lynch added.

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