Neighborhood Child Care Center in Montclair May Be Forced To Shut Its Doors

Neighborhood Child Care Center in Montclair May Be Forced To Shut Its DoorsNeighborhood Child Care Center (NCCC), who recently lost a CDBG grant and an opportunity to open a daycare center after Essex County learned it had misused funds, is now in danger of closing. NCCC board member Pegi Adam writes:

The Neighborhood Child Care Center has cared for and educated mainly disadvantaged pre-school children for nearly 90 years, one of the oldest programs in the Township of Montclair. As a board member and weekly reader to the kids, I see a nurturing staff that puts the kids even before their salaries. The center has weathered many financial storms, with generous donations showing up miraculously in times of need. But now, they’re in desperate straits, and will be forced to shut their doors if they don’t get some financial help to pay bills and staff.

Their tuition is mainly paid by state aid. However, the formula has changed and now state pays only when children attend. Hence, if a child misses a week due to illness or other necessity, NCCC doesn’t get paid for that child. However, the center still must pay teachers, heat, lights, etc. It’s a badly constructed formula and needs changing. They get grants from organizations such as United Way and others and they’re a tax exempt, Non-Profit 501 © program. But you know grants take time, and time is running out for them.

It would be a shame to see the center close. Where else can financially strapped families send their children? Neighborhood Child Care Center not only cares for children 18 months to 5 years, but also has an after-school program. It’s a place where working parents feel confident that their kids will be well taken care of and provided with early learning in preparation for entering public schools.

They need $25,000 immediately. If you can step up with a sizable donation that could keep them afloat, it would be most welcome and save them from closing the doors. If you can help, please contact Avissa Beek, 973-744-4228; cell 201-953-2603 Or just send a contribution to Neighborhood Child Care Center, 30 Maple Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042. pegi

Lian R. Ferguson-Spears, board chair of the NCCC Parents Advisory Committee, also writes, asking “What does it take for NCCC to receive help, financial help from our Town Council?”

I am a parent living in Montclair, NJ now for the past 8 years, I enrolled my daughter in the Neighborhood Child Care Center, in Montclair, NJ. in 2010.

The program offered me a new start to life, to go back to school and further my education, so I could seek a new career path. Based on some research, I knew I was placing her in an environment that holds high standards in early childhood learning. Not to mention being NAEYC accredited, this too was a key facture in my placement decision.

NCCC consists of approx. 98% moderately low-income parents, contributing to the program with an approx. 2% of parents paying full tuition fees. Our parents cannot afford to stay home in these challenging times, when our economy is still so unsettled. Some parents/guardians are either earning minimum wage, attending school, or are retired grandparents and family members assisting with caring for these children. Those who do work, if they miss a day of work, they lose a days pay, it’s that simple. In conversation parents have expressed that they will sadly enough, send their child to school sick. Not because they want to, but because they have too, in order to keep their job, these are the times we live in!

NCCC derived from a small community credit union, which offered affordable child care services, to parents living in Montclair and surrounding Essex County. When the community needed help raising their children, NCCC was there for them. We as parents clearly understand, that “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Mrs. Beek-Peniston has always had the financial debt of the previous administration looming over her head. And yet, day after day, year after year, she has never had to close the doors on a now, 87 year old historical legacy. Avissa made a poor decision, out of many great ones throughout her 30 some plus years of service at NCCC. Nonetheless, does one bad choice warrant her being labeled a thief? Of course not, out of desperation she was forced to pay her staff, owed wages they had not received in months. She obviously found herself in a hopeless situation, and did what many on the outside consider, a bad or “immoral” act.

Avissa did what most of us do everyday in our own home environments, and that is, to take from “Peter to pay Paul”. Wow! No one can ever accuse her of profiting off the school. When she is met with insufficient funds to pay her staff, she will not take a salary, so that her staff can receive a check. We all know her decision was hard, and not one person can say that her actions were not made in the best interest of the children. I raise my hats to those members of staff that continuously attended work everyday for months, with not ever receiving a full paycheck… That’s commitment, that loyalty, that’s dedicated individuals working for the greater good, and not just a paycheck. Most of these Teachers have worked at NCCC for over 10 years and more. Her staff is solid and loyal, yes they may take a leave of absence to have children or further their education, but they always come right back! That’s stamina, built in a foundation, embedded with great leadership.

11 Pine Street was finally awarded to Avissa in 2010, after much hesitancy and pushback from members of the Township Council. However, we have spent endless hours drawing up plans for each and every classroom, bathroom, storage area and play space for the babies and toddlers on our waiting list. Avissa and members of the board have worked vigorously, on creating new advertising materials for media kits, signage for the interior and exterior building façade. Not to mention acquiring thousands of dollars of already purchased equipment, furniture and new baby cribs currently positioned in the new site. How dare they just change the locks after 4 days notice, what Landlord legally has the rights to do that? Where is the compassion and understanding?

Having our newly built and modified facility means having a new lease on life. To ultimately assist and reduce the ongoing debt carried by 30 Maple Avenue. To enhance our current model of childcare service, and facilitate the influx of young family oriented residents moving into Montclair. Not to mention, our vision of bridging the gap, between a generational institution and the diverse population living in our town.

However, our current problems and major concerns are the daily B2B costs of running the program. Yes, the board needs to step up their game, and support the school by providing their 35% of funding. Needless to say, NCCC needs help with the other 75%. What does it take for NCCC to receive help, financial help from our Town Council? (Pre-K) can receive almost $250,000.00, at the drop of a hat! Does the longevity and success of this program even matter?

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.