THE NEED… to learn
The Lebanon Valley Family YMCA has a long standing commitment to serve families in our community by offering the highest standard of early childhood education and child care to everyone, both those who can pay the full fee and those who cannot. We believe that every child deserves these opportunities regardless of their background, race, religion, culture, family situation or ability to pay.
The YMCA Children’s Center is proof of this commitment. Our YMCA Children’s Center program addresses an identified need, expressed by many parents in the north side of Lebanon City, for quality, affordable child care that is accessible to them in walking distance, near schools, and near Lebanon Transit bus stops. Due to issues with the facility in which it was housed for many years, the YMCA Children’s Center has been operating within our Lebanon Valley Family YMCA’s main building for almost a year.
Although our center had been serving 60 children, because of a reduction in space we are currently able to serve 48 children from infants to five years old. At least 85-90% of these children qualify for and receive financial assistance as well as Federal free or reduced lunch programs. Every day, these children are served a healthy breakfast, a hot lunch and an afternoon snack.
Because of the necessity to move the program into the YMCA building and the restrictions of space, there is now a waiting list for enrollment. And, there are many more children in our community whose lives could be impacted in such a positive way given additional space for their enrollment and participation in this established, effective program.
Our dedicated staff works very hard to help each child grow individually so they can start school with high self esteem and ready to learn. Our teachers are committed to making a difference in our community by teaching, guiding and nurturing these children. For some of these children, their teacher is the only adult in their lives who they know is truly invested in their future. The YMCA Children’s Center is rated as a Four Star program in the Keystone Stars Review Program. This is the highest achievable rating for a child care program by the State of Pennsylvania, and is one of only three centers rated this highly in Lebanon County.
This center not only impacts our children and families, but also our community and its future. A vast amount of research shows that early education is one of the most effective tools in fighting low literacy and drop-out rates, generational poverty rates and delinquency and incarceration rates.
So many children are not given the opportunity to be in a highly rated early learning program that encourages and nurtures their development with a staff that is truly committed to supporting their positive growth.
THE PROJECT… to grow
The Edward & Jeanne Arnold Early Learning Center will provide a healthy learning environment in which children can grow, from infancy to five-years-old. This 7,000 square foot building on the Lebanon Valley Family YMCA campus will allow for immediate growth to accommodate over 70 children, and will contain space for future expansion. This facility is designed to meet the special needs of each age group, with seven separate classrooms, each with its own bathroom, closet and sink area, and with diaper changing areas for the younger children. One classroom will be specifically designed for our State funded Pre-K Counts Program that targets preparing low-income children for Kindergarten.
Additionally, the Center will have a staff area for the teachers containing storage, an adult bathroom, small kitchenette, conference area and computer access. It will also include play areas, learning centers and an outdoor playground. This Center is designed to meet the needs of the children and teachers who will be there from 6:30 a.m. till 6:00 p.m. each week day, while complying with the Department of Public Welfare requirements for a licensed Child Care Center.
Infant room: 500 square feet (DPW requires 320 sq. feet for eight infants, extra is for cribs for proper STARS spacing and space for toys and areas to meet STAR 4 standards).
One-year-old room: 600 square feet (DPW requires 400 sq. feet for 10 one-year-olds, extra space is to allow for proper placement of sleeping cots and “centers” required by STARS).
Two-year-old room: 700 square feet (DPW requires 480 for 12 two-year-olds extra, space is for proper set up of stations per STARS which get more complex as children get older).
Three-year-old room: 600 square feet (DPW requires 400 sq. feet for 10 three-year-olds, extra space is for proper set up of stations per STARS).
Four-year-old room: 600 square feet (DPW requires 400 sq. feet for 10 four-year-olds, extra space is for proper set up of stations per STARS.)
Pre-K Counts room: 750 square feet (DPW requires 480 sq. feet for 12 Pre-K Counts children. However, Pre-K Counts standards require more stations and areas for children to play.)
- One additional class room approximately 600 square feet in size to meet future needs.
- Bathroom and closet spaces for each classroom. These are essential for the effective operation of the center.
The biographies and resumes of Edward and Jeanne Arnold are massive. Both have multiple degrees, some that have been bestowed upon them in honor of their contributions to the community and education, including honorary doctorates from Lebanon Valley College. Additionally, they have each received many awards and honors, individually and as a couple, such as the Boy Scouts of America Silver Buffalo Award and the Penn State Distinguished Alumni Award.
However, the thing that stands out the most in looking at their resumes is the true commitment each has made to make their community and their world a better place. Both Jeanne and Edward have served on dozens of committees and boards for both large prestigious organizations and for small local ones, helping to raise awareness and understanding, as well as funds. They have consistently chosen to not only share their financial resources, but also their knowledge, creativity and compassion. They are not hesitant to go where their concerns take them and to dig into an issue to work for a cause.
When Edward and Jeanne toured the Lebanon Valley Family YMCA, they listened carefully and asked many questions, but quickly each of them zeroed in on the real focus – the very young children who are learning and growing in an atmosphere of stimulation, education, support and love. They quickly saw the limitations of the physical spaces in which the YMCA Child Care program has been forced to operate for the past year, and they heard about the growing needs of the surrounding community for the healthy, high quality early childhood programs that the YMCA offers.
In their typical fashion, Jeanne and Edward Arnold responded immediately with an offer to help. It is that remarkable positive energy and commitment to be the agents of the change, that most distinguishes Edward and Jeanne Arnold as outstanding philanthropists and leaders. The Lebanon Valley Family YMCA is proud to have Edward and Jeanne Arnold as our lead partners in the creation of the Edward & Jeanne Arnold Early Learning Center.
Please join us in impacting the future of our community by supporting the creation of the Edward & Jeanne Arnold Early Learning Center. Thank you for your support!