Nearly 400 child care providers celebrated Child Care Provider Appreciation Day on May 11 with Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF). As part of the celebration, these providers received a small thank you gift from SWIF, as well as supplies to support a social media campaign recognizing the importance of providers to families, communities and the economy in southwest Minnesota.
Most of the child care providers who participated – more than 80 percent – offer family-based care, like Tammy Wachter. She owns and operates Kidsville Family Child Care in Spicer. During her long career in the field, she has cared for more than 500 kids.
“The right kind of child care can be a wonderful opportunity to enrich children’s lives and help them realize their full potential,” Tammy said. (Read Tammy’s story.)
Jodi Maertens, SWIF’s Youth and Family Officer, was excited by the enthusiastic response to Child Care Provider Appreciation Day, with a large number of providers participating, including some from outside the region.
“The work that our providers do is incredible and we thank them. We think they’re awesome,” Jodi said.
Parents and guardians clearly agree, with glowing comments posted to the social media campaign SWIF also spearheaded.
From Facebook: "Kaila Marie Kooi is a beyond amazing daycare provider. She is like a second mom to my kids and loves them like they are her own children. She has become part of our family as well as our children becoming part of hers. My kids love all the "extras" she does with them. She goes above and beyond what most other providers do; we are blessed with the best!" ~Hiedi Stoel
Kaila (pictured) is a family-based provider in Edgerton.
Stephanie Baldwin gave a shout-out to Miranda (pictured at top), a family-based child care provider in Dawson: “We love Miranda Westfield-Evenson! She is so good with our kids, she cares she truly loves them and we don’t know what we would do with out her. We consider her family 🙂 #genuine #heartfelt #selfless”
And Lisa Lanning Neutgens posted: “We are fortunate to have Little Lambs Learning Center – Danube in our area! Our girls love the staff!!”
Following the successful celebration recognizing the dedication of current child care providers, SWIF continues its work to find solutions to the child care shortage affecting families, employers and communities. SWIF’s Youth and Family Officer, Jodi, pointed out a key part of that is engaging each community in what will work best at a local level.
“We know that quality, affordable child care is a critical part of our regional economy. We’re supporting project finance, planning and technical assistance, professional development for providers, public policy and advocacy,” Jodi said. “But, this is just the beginning and we can’t do it alone.”