Part of the Young Women’s Christian Association’s mission is to improve the lives of women and children by providing health and wellness programs. Because so many modern women are working mothers, offering a reliable child care facility contributes to the emotional wellness of career women. The Pekin YWCA has offered that service since 1987.

“Any child care program is going to be valuable to our community,” said Pekin Mayor John McCabe. “The YWCA leads the community in supplying a lot of highly organized, yet diverse activities for our young people. Their child care services are extremely beneficial and even essential to a community like ours, where we have so many working parents.”

The Pekin YWCA celebrated the 30th anniversary of operating its Child Care Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday evening. Following the ribbon-cutting, the Pekin YWCA hosted an open house, offered tours of the Child Care Center and served refreshments.

“We are excited to still be serving the community of Pekin, providing quality child care,” said Brenda Long, the Pekin YWCA’s Child Care director. “We serve not only Pekin but surrounding communities who come to us for child care services.”

The center is licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services and accredited with the National Association for the Education of Young Children. It is licensed to provide care for 151 children from ages 6 weeks to 12 years and has seven classrooms to accommodate the various age groups. 

“The center was a very small facility when it first opened,” said Long. “In 2001, we took over the old part of the YWCA that was built in the 1950s, the old reception room and the old aerobics room. Expanding our facility allowed us to serve more people. When the center first opened, it had a nursery school that supported about 20 children and a day care center for children aged 2 to 5 which could accommodate another 30 children. So, not only have we tripled the number of children we can accommodate since first opening but we are able to accommodate more age groups.”

Long attributed the YWCA Child Care Center’s success to staff members who carry out the facility’s mission, past and present Pekin YWCA executive directors for their support of child care programs, and assistance from Pekin Community High School, the United Way of Peoria and Illinois Central College.

“It’s been great for me to see the growth of the facility,” said Long. “I first came here in 1988 as a teacher. Some of the children from my classroom in the past are now sending their children here, and that’s a fun thing to see.”

The YWCA Child Care Center is located at 315 Buena Vista Ave. in Pekin. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.kintera.org.