Two Sheboygan moms team up to try and open 24/7 day care center
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (WBAY) - Two Sheboygan mothers have teamed up to provide child care solutions they say are desperately needed in their community.
Their goal, is to open a 24/7 facility for parents who face obstacles finding child care.
Angel Berry and Nena Bemis co-founded the nonprofit, A Million Dreamz, together.
“There’s two big significant things that we’re doing that aren’t being done right now in the area. One of those is 24/7 and the other one is being 100% ADA accessible,” said Berry.
The idea first came about after the two met at Berry’s former day care in her home.
“Nena was looking for care for her oldest son who is on the autism spectrum and she was struggling to find reliable care for that, and I was happy to have him,” said Berry.
Berry’s day care was shut down during the pandemic, and that’s when both moms of special needs children began their mission to offer affordable child care, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, in an all-inclusive environment.
“Kids are just kids, they have different levels of needs, and we want to be all-inclusive because kids learn from each other,” said Nena Bemis.
The age range of children will be from infants to age 17, specifically to meet the need of teenagers with special needs.
Staffing is the biggest challenge for them prior to opening, while they’ve already had 20 people reach out to work there, they would need to employ 160 people at full capacity.
“We’re hoping to provide as much education on ground that we can that’s going to be free, so that’s already one part of that hurdle that an individual doesn’t have to worry about, is getting that education, finding out how to be a trained professional in the child care field itself,” said Bemis.
There will be 12 classrooms inside the building, and with the space available, they should be able to care for up to 200 children at a time.
“It needs a new roof, fire suppression system, a new HVAC, all sorts of new paint and carpet, flooring, things like that,” said Berry.
The nonprofit is hosting community days, where anyone can come volunteer, put on a hard hat, help tear down ceilings, and update the rest of the building.
“Bringing the community is definitely a great way to advance us to get to where we need to be,” said Berry.
The co-founders say as of last October, there were 286 children on a wait list in Sheboygan County.
“It’s really about not just making our dreams come true, but the dreams that families have to do better, to have better support and better options, the dreams that kids constantly have and that they live in,” said Berry.
A Million Dreamz hopes to open in spring on a small scale and fully open in summer if staffing levels allow it.
Anyone interested in applying for a job, donating to the nonprofit or want to volunteer, you can find that information here.
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