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Day-care center receives financial TLC from state

October 26, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Staffers at the Waynesboro Day Care Center probably will not need to put buckets under the leaks that come through their old roof thanks to a $50,000 grant they received Monday.

The money came through the office of state. Sen. Terry Punt, R-Franklin.

Peggy Weller, president of the center's board of directors and daughter of Helen Overington, one of its founders 32 years ago, said in prepared remarks that the grant will enable the facility to repair its roof, upgrade interior lighting, paint the exterior, renovate the kitchen and install a fence in front of the building to increase safety for the children who use the center.

Many of the center's children live in single-parent homes. Their parents pay for day care on a sliding scale based on their income, Weller said.

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The center takes in about 150 children every day, said Kristin Zaruba, former executive director of the facility at 1801 E. Main St. She has been succeeded by Denise Feester in the director's job.

Until 1972, the building housing the nonprofit day-care center was the Wayne Heights Elementary School. When the Waynesboro Area School Board put the school up for sale, a group of local women got together and launched an effort to buy and convert it into a day care center.

Robert Brown, who served as president of the center's board of directors for 25 years, said the five women who started the center, including Overington, were Marion Grove, Polly Moyer, Jean Bridgers and Mary Lou Benchoff.

"They were the force behind it," Brown said. There was some initial opposition to a public day-care center back then, he said. "Some people thought that parents should take care of their own children," he said.

Brown's wife, Grace Brown, said such centers existed in large cities, but were rare in small towns like Waynesboro. People didn't see the need, she said.

In his remarks, Punt said parents whose children attend the center, "rely on the high quality child-care program that enables them to work."

"The grant is going to a good cause," said Sally Sussman, a member of the board of directors. "It's important to give young children a good start and an early education."

The center operates with 28 staff members and teachers, all but four of whom are part time.

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