Updated: November 19, 2019 05:58 PM
Created: November 19, 2019 05:55 PM
(ABC 6 News)-- A leading issue in the region is affordable childcare. Even in recent years according to research from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, even with more options emerging, the need for the community is not being met.
"We are a church and we are called to serve the community," said Senior Pastor Glenn Monson, of Mount Olive Lutheran Church.
Pastor Glenn says that when searching for ways to give back to the community, the church recognized the need for childcare.
"Our congregation sought out a partner to do something that would impact the community in a meaningful way and we identified affordable childcare as an issue that we could perhaps address," said Monson.
Mount Olive Lutheran Church is partnering with Families First of Minnesota to not only bring awareness to an issue in the count but to also offer some kind of solution.
"We want to be a model to let other communities and even I mean the rest of Rochester know that it is possible in achieving and helping with that crisis," said Sarah Klocek, the Director of the new Family Circle Learning Center.
According to Pastor Glenn, Families First covered the renovation costs for the spare classrooms at the church- to be turned into classrooms that the learning center will use. Klocek says because they were able to save money by renovating, the organization is able to cut costs for parents.
"Partnering with Mount Olive to help make the facility costs more affordable and therefore not having to then charge as much for the care and education happening," said Klocek.
The Family Circle Learning Center will gradually open up each classroom over the next couple of weeks. Occupancy will consist of up to eight-infant slots, twenty-one toddlers and more than 30 preschoolers, ages six weeks to 16 months. Even though on any given day the center is licensed to only have 66 children, Klocek says their work doesn't end here.
"Continuing to just brainstorm how we can help because that's one of our goals is we want to reach every family out there and make quality care and education accessible," said Klocek.
Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company