By Leah Sander
WARSAW — Some of the youngest members of a local day care now have an easier time playing thanks to state grant funds.
A ribbon-cutting was held on Monday, May 9, to celebrate Redeemer Lutheran Church’s Little Steps Daycare’s new playground section for ages 1 and 2. It’s located at the church at 1720 E. Center St., Warsaw.
LaunchPad Director Sherry Searles and Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce representatives were present for the ribbon-cutting.
Little Steps Director Tami Beery explained that the day care used Build Learn Grow state grant money to create the playground section. Build Learn Grow utilizes COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government.
The day care added special equipment made for the younger kids. Beery added the grant funds also paid for new equipment for kids ages 3-5, which has yet to come in, as well as a few other things.
“We ended up getting about $200,000,” said Beery. “So we spent over a $100,000 on our playgrounds.”
She said the money was also used on staffing and a dishwasher.
“The thing that we were hoping is so that all of the children in our facility except for the nursery of course could basically be outside at the same time because before they were having to tag-team … who could get out and when … so this just gives them the opportunity to really play outside,” she said.
Searles said LaunchPad informed local day cares of the state grant funding opportunity. Day cares had to be licensed or registered with the state to qualify for funding.
“So these grants that are made available by the state are the stability grants that the state rolled out to help stabilize our programs like Little Steps that really struggled through COVID and all that came with that,” she said.
“They provide a great service to our community, and so we’re glad they’re able to add a nice playground for the youngest children to be outside,” she said regarding the day care.
Redeemer Lutheran’s Pastor Bill Carney added that the new playground section was “an awesome blessing.”
The day care services infants to age 6 and opened in 2010.