“Well, we did it!”
This statement not only incited an eruption of applause during Tuesday’s grand opening ceremony of the new Children’s Campus of Kansas City and Educare of Kansas City, but also illuminated the significance of an event eight years in the making.
Martha Staker, president and chief executive officer of the Children’s Campus of Kansas City, also spoke about trying to fund the $15.5 million, 72,000-square-foot building in Kansas City, Kan., that will serve as a base of operations for organizations such as the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project of the Life Span Institute of Kansas University, a research project that provides parental training and addresses the needs and scholastic achievements of children in low-income families.
Other organizations include Project EAGLE, The Family Conservancy and the Economic Opportunity Foundation Inc. and Head Start Program, all of which will work together to support the vision of the Children’s Campus: to build a comprehensive system of services to support the health and well-being of young children and their families.
A health clinic and early childhood education will also be provided at the facility, 444 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kan.
Staker said the decorative wave motif throughout the building didn’t just symbolize its proximity to the Kansas and Missouri rivers.
“The Children’s Campus of Kansas City and the Educare of Kansas City hope to make waves as we create a platform for change and work to make things better not just for the children here, but for all children,” Staker said.
Dan Pedersen, with the Bounce Learning Network, drove home the need for the campus by pointing out that 22 percent of children in the United States live in poverty — an increase from the 17 percent identified before the recession began.
“So the sad news is this is a growth industry that we’re celebrating here today, and so it’s a serious moment as well as a celebratory one,” Pedersen said.