28 Sept. 2023

Chillicothe Goodwill Cuts Ribbon on Child Care Center

(CHILLICOTHE)—Goodwill of South Central Ohio recently opened their own child care center, and a ribbon was cut Thursday with the Chillicothe-Ross Chamber of Commerce to commemorate the occasion.

“This really is a momentous day for Goodwill – a very historic day,” said Marvin Jones, Goodwill of South Central Ohio CEO.

The center officially opened and began providing services on Sept. 18 after a year of planning. Mary Anne Queen, Childcare Administrator for the location on Western Avenue in Chillicothe, says opening it has been an amazing learning opportunity.

“Everything has been going great since opening. It is a new adventure each day, and we are learning right along with the kids,” Queen said.

The center is currently licensed to serve 44 children at once and has had at least 64 children pre-registered online since early summer to express interest. So far, 24 children are enrolled, and eight more are scheduled to complete the enrollment process soon.

Queen continues to contact parents to evaluate their needs and the center schedule to maximize the number of families they can serve.

COAD (Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development) was also integral to the opening. During the ribbon cutting, Jones thanked the organization for all its work.

“There’s so many people to thank for this, but we can’t say enough about the folks at COAD in getting this going,” Jones said. “This probably wouldn’t have happened without their expertise.”

Megan Pieper, COAD Regional Coordinator for Business Supports, said helping to get the Goodwill child care center open and running was a journey.

“We took an already existing organization and added a web of services under their umbrella,” Pieper said.

She said she began by preparing them with data and information to present to their board to get approval to move forward with the project. The focus then shifted to paperwork, specifically the center’s handbook and disaster plan. Once they started recruiting staff, COAD helped with training and background checks. Several employees are also enrolled in COAD’s CDA course.

COAD also purchased supplies, including cots, cribs and developmentally appropriate toys and supplies. COAD then assisted with room arrangement to make sure each classroom has a developmentally appropriate environment for each age group. Once their kitchen was complete and their food license was obtained, Pieper assisted them with finalizing and submitting their license application.

Pieper said bringing this project to fruition was incredibly rewarding and important for the community.

“The Goodwill Childcare center is a wonderful, quality asset to Chillicothe and the surrounding communities,” Pieper said. “They are equipped with knowledgeable staff and a developmentally appropriate environment for learning at all ages.”

Though the center is up and running, Pieper said COAD’s contribution is far from over.

Going forward, the COAD4Kids division’s staff will assist with professional development, Step Up To Quality, their Publicly Funded Child Care agreement and any other technical assistance they need.

Additionally, Goodwill hopes to expand not only its Chillicothe child care location, but also create more centers throughout the region.

“This is our first foray into childcare and [we] are excited by the opportunity to serve our Chillicothe community in a new way,” said Jona Ison, Business Development and Communications Coordinator for Goodwill of South Central Ohio. “This is sort of our pilot venture, so if all goes well, we anticipate exploring opportunities to expand the service into other communities across our eight-county region and presenting them to our board for consideration.”

To learn more about Goodwill Childcare, visit gwisco.org/childcare. And to receive updates on the center, text CHILDCARE to 844-940-2300.

To learn more about COAD, visit coadinc.org/coad4kids or call 740-289-8800.