By Karen Williams

Guest Columnist

EDITOR’S NOTE:  “Give Well” is a weekly column written by Dawn Franks of Your Philanthropy, Kyle Penney of the East Texas Communities Foundation and representatives of The Women’s Fund of Smith County.

The grant process can be a daunting one for any not-for-profit organization.  One of the questions most often asked is “What is the vision for the future of this project?” Or what is the enduring impact of the gift?  This question was posed by the Women’s Fund of Smith County as Tyler Day Nursery approached the prospect of building additional classrooms.

Tyler Day Nursery noticed a growing need for infant care.  They found that parents were putting their children on the waiting list before they were born!  Parents must work or be enrolled in school as a requirement to be considered for the sliding scale tuition.  So for parents returning to these obligations after having a baby, the search begins to find safe, quality child care where the center is warm and inviting and the caregivers are friendly and loving.  Teachers and parents work together closely to support children on their journey through those important first years!  According to the State of Texas Education report entitled “Early Childhood Education” released in 2009, “Children exposed to positive, stimulating experiences as young children develop enhanced learning capabilities, which improve their odds for excelling in school.”   For the highly qualified teachers and staff at Tyler Day Nursery this is the number one goal.

The idea began to form to build two new classrooms on the Gentry Parkway property where Tyler Day Nursery has been since 1989.   As a not-for-profit preschool and child care center, funding was at the top of the list as plans were underway.  A not-for-profit child care center receives the majority of its funding not from tuition but from donations and grants.  Along with the Executive Director Jaquita Lee, the Board of Directors and architects, they found that designing rooms that matched the existing structure was essential as well as the needs of the children and teachers that would be using these rooms.  A safe, bright and cheerful environment with space for a child to crawl and explore his world was the goal.  A good assortment of learning materials geared to the evolving infant was critical.

Tyler Day Nursery has endured and benefited from the philanthropic charity of so many through volunteerism and donations for over 79 years.  Within a year, through the generosity of the Tyler community and beyond, donations were received to fully fund the building of two beautiful new classrooms with two administrative offices.  The funds received as always were well spent with good intention.

Tyler Day Nursery turned to the Women’s Fund grant process to ask for learning materials to fill the rooms.  These supplies help each child play, relate to others and explore new skills and activities.  In a safe, loving environment children can seek out new challenges and learn how to solve problems to feel secure and optimistic.  The funds would benefit the little people for whom it is intended, the children.  Tyler Day Nursery received a grant from the Women’s Fund of $32,535 in 2012!  The list of items purchased with these funds was extensive and included changing tables, blocks, easels, puzzles and book shelves.  Teachers and staff were filled with joy and thankfulness when a group of representatives from the Women’s Fund came for a visit after the classrooms were completed to see the new facility and the furnishing provided by them.  The happy faces of the children said it all as they waved to the group during the tour.   The infants are now 3 years old!

Tyler Day Nursery believes in the importance of an enduring relationship between parents, children and educators in our community.  The comfort and peace of mind of every parent is important to them.    Their goal is to make sure children are well prepared to enter kindergarten, confident in their skills and abilities and prepared to thrive in the diverse fabric of the community.

You are encouraged to visit this beautiful facility at 2901 Gentry Parkway to see a Women’s Fund grant in action.  Tyler Day Nursery is 79 years old and is the oldest not-for-profit day care center in the state of Texas.  The mission is to provide quality child-care and preschool education to children of low-income and poverty level families in a healthy, safe and loving environment.  The Nursery’s annual fundraising event, The Storybook Luncheon will be held on April 21, 2015 at Hollytree Country Club starting at 12 noon.  Please call 903-592-4861 for ticket information.

Karen Williams serves on the board of directors for Tyler Day Nursery and has been a Women’s Fund of Smith County member since 2011.  Tyler Day Nursery is a United Way Agency.