Beacon of Learning | Highlands Community Child Development Center
Even while having to endure the Covid-crisis, Highlands Community Child Development Center remains central to the lives of the children of parents working in Highlands. To learn more, visit highlandscommunitychildcare.org.
Like a sunny beacon of hope and learning, the Highlands Community Child Development Center has remained in operation with open doors and open hearts throughout the Covid-crisis and these strange unsettled times in which we remain.
Generations of children whose parents work in Highlands (this writer’s son included) have relied upon the loving care and tender lessons offered at this quiet landmark, just one block off Main Street behind the First Presbyterian Church of Highlands.
Director Pat Hedden and her staff ensure that these kids receive a safe place to play and rest and – this is important – are introduced to the fundamentals of reading, math, and computer skills. When the children graduate at age 5, they’re socialized and ready for school.
“We love what we do, and I think the children can feel that love,” says Miss Pat (you’d be hard-pressed to find any child or parent over the last 40 years who calls her Mrs. Hedden). “It really makes a difference when they know that they’re being cared for by people who love them.”
That spirit has animated HCCDC since its opening in 1979 under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church. What started out with 42 children and 10 employees has mushroomed to 74 children and 20 employees.
Those numbers are significant to the health of the entire community and point to the renewed vigor of the economy in the wake of covid.
“These are the children whose parents staff the restaurants, grocery stores, and many other establishments and provide the services on which we rely. HCCDC allows the parents to provide for their families while their children are being cared for and nurtured,” says the HCCDC Board’s spokeswoman.
The financial hardships imposed by Covid over the last year-and-a-half have strained the resources of parents, and many local groups have thrown their weight behind keeping the center’s door open – Old Edwards Inn, The Rotary Club of Highlands, Mountaintop Rotary, Bel Canto, Cullasaja Women’s Outreach, Dogwood Health Trust, The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, First Presbyterian Church of Highlands, The Hack Foundation (Gerry & Avary Doubleday), Fibber Magee’s, and Mountain Findings. And, of course, this being the Plateau, the list can go on and on and anyone left off should consult this writer for a correction in a future issue – blame it on me, not those good people who keep everything going.
That’s quite a lot of support from a lot of organizations, but the center still relies upon generous contributions from individuals. If you’d like to contribute, visit highlandscommunitychildcare.org.