MESA Working to Open All-Day Childhood Center in Madison - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

MESA Working to Open All-Day Childhood Center in Madison

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Inside new Madison Learning Center Inside new Madison Learning Center

A nonprofit is fixing up a facility to fill a void for parents in Madison County. The volunteer-run group hopes providing childcare services will lift a burden off unemployed parents and allow them to get to work.

Right now, there is not a single state-licensed, all-day childcare center in Madison County. The few licensed providers work out of homes. At least one has a wait list.

That's why the Madison community is getting behind the new Madison Learning Center. Mariel Lewis is making a to-do list to reopen a former childcare facility.

“We'll just keep on working ‘til it's time to open and have all the rooms look ready,” said Lewis.

Lewis has run her own licensed childcare center from her home for seven years. Now, she's serving as director of the new Madison Learning Center. It will take over a Main Street building abandoned two years ago.

“When this closed originally a couple years ago, a lot of those families came to me with not a lot of places to turn,” said Lewis.

The four classrooms will offer all-day care for children 6 weeks old to school age.

The Madison Emergency Services Association (MESA) is operating the center. The nonprofit hopes providing childcare will empower unemployed parents to find work.

“If they can get quality childcare, then they can work. That will have a two-fold benefit. Now they're employed. They require less services. It's better for Madison. It's better for them,” said Jennifer McLeod, MESA's executive director.

The facility needs a fix-up. Bulletin boards are still decorated with names of children from the previous daycare. The center is collecting donations of furniture, supplies, and toys.

“It's what Madison does. Madison County has always been a place where people care for each other,” said John Storey, MESA President.

“It's a big endeavor. If we can cut some of those costs with volunteers and donated items, then we can make an even better center for the children,” said McLeod.

Lewis looks forward to the day the first kids come running through the center's doors.

Madison County supervisors approved $12,000 in start-up funds for the center to open in August.

Volunteers are invited Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help pull weeds in the playground, paint classroom walls, and make small repairs around the center.

For more information, click here.

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