How did the Stick Creek Kids project begin?

Following two community surveys in 2013 and 2018 (with a 75% response rate) a need for more childcare in Wood River was very evident. Survey's indicated that 52 households currently use childcare and 21 of these utilize childcare in a community outside of Wood River.

Who is behind the Stick Creek Kids initiative?

A subcommittee of Wood River Vision 20/20 was formed by interested community members. Wood River Vision 20/20 Inc. will own and manage the child care center. Vision is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity organized for the betterment of the greater Wood River community. Stick Creek Kids will be managed by an on-site Director with expertise in early childhood education. The Director will report to a volunteer Stick Creek Kids Board to oversee the operation of the center. That board will be formed once the capital campaign nears completion. Anyone interested in serving in that capacity is invited to contact us at hello@stickcreekkids.com

Where will the child care center be located?

In July 2019, Wood River Vision 20/20 Inc. acquired the Good Samaritan Society-Wood River building (former Nursing Home) following their closure after the floods in March 2019. Good Samaritan Society generously agreed to the reduced market rate of $100,000 on the building with a $1.4 million tax assessed value.
As this building is much larger than our original vision for this project, we are currently researching possible partnerships with community groups to create an intergenerational, valuable space for the entire community.

When will Stick Creek Kids open?

Our goal is to open in the Fall of 2020. Following the acquisition of the former nursing home building in July 2019, we hope to begin renovation soon! The Vision/Stick Creek Kids leadership team is refining its vision for the center’s layout, working with experts in early childhood design. There are many DHHS licensing rules and Fire Marshall requirements which govern child care centers, so by working with the experts we will ensure all those rules have been factored into the plans.

How many children will the center be able to care for?

The current plan is to build the center with a capacity of 80 children knowing it could take 4-5 years to fully fill the center. We plan to be able to take care of children from 6 weeks old to 12 years old.

Is Stick Creek Kids limited to Wood River residents only?

Not at all! One of the many benefits we enjoy in Wood River is our centralized location along Hwy 30. With many parents commuting to work in area communities such as Grand Island, Kearney, St. Paul, Hastings—Wood River is a convenient and easily accessible option for these families. Enrollment will not be limited by location and we look forward to serving children from all of central Nebraska!

How does a non-profit childcare center work?

Tuition will be charged at a competitive rate for the central Nebraska region. However all families in need of childcare are encouraged to apply as Stick Creek Kids will accept Title XX funding and aims to offer scholarships to families, based on need.

How much money must be raised?

The fundraising goal is $1,965,000. This capital campaign provides full funding to renovate and furnish the center with all necessary equipment, learning materials, toys, outdoor play spaces with fencing, and landscaping. It also provides for working capital for the first few years.

Where does the fundraising campaign stand now?

As of Summer 2019, we have raised roughly $1,370,000 for which we are all very grateful! Having just officially kicked off the campaign in November 2018, this is outstanding! Large contributions by the Grace & Donna Rae Koepp Foundation and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development Community Development Block Grant Foundation accelerated the campaign significantly. A big thank you to all the individual donors who have contributed as well! Contributors to the campaign will be permanently recognized on the donor wall in the center’s lobby. Naming opportunities for portions of the center are available with gifts of $25,000 or more. For additional information, please contact us at hello@stickcreekkids.com or Sara Arnett at 308-380-7030.

How can I give to the Stick Creek Kids capital campaign?

Donations can be made online through our website. Or if you prefer, you can make checks payable to the Wood River Community Centennial Foundation and mail it to: PO Box 493, Wood River NE 68883. As an IRS approved 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, your contribution is eligible for a tax deduction. All funds will be held by the Foundation until needed for the construction of the center. If you have any questions about giving, feel free to contact Sara Arnett (308-380-7030) or Katie Gartner (308-258-2613). Gifts in ANY amount are greatly appreciated whether you want to make a one-time contribution or a multi-year pledge.

I don’t need child care, why should I give?

An investment in Stick Creek Kids is an investment in central Nebraska for generations to come. Solving the critical childcare shortage also benefits employers who need to attract and retain employees, keeping them on the job. It makes Wood River a more desirable place to live and raise a family. It increases demand for housing in the area, which likely strengthens home values and spurs residential construction.

Will the City of Wood River own the center?

No, Wood River Vision 20/20 Inc. will own and manage the child care center. Vision is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity organized for the betterment of the greater Wood River community. Stick Creek Kids will be managed by an on-site Director with expertise in early childhood education. The Director will report to a volunteer Stick Creek Kids Board to oversee the operation of the center. That board will be formed once the capital campaign nears completion. Anyone interested in serving in that capacity is invited to contact us at hello@stickcreekkids.com

Will the center increase our property taxes?

No! It will be a community based nonprofit organization which will not increase taxes and will be self-sustaining.

Will the City be issuing bonds to pay for the center?

No, since the City has no ownership in the center, it will not be involved in financing the center. Stick Creek Kids will not be built with taxpayer dollars. Furthermore, the school district does not have a financial interest in the project.

Will the center be financially self-sustaining long term?

Yes, careful financial planning occurred early in the process to ensure that Stick Creek Kids CDC could ‘stand on its own two feet’ financially for the long-term. If financial self-sufficiency weren’t possible, we would not have proceeded with this solution.
When a child care center opens, enrollment isn’t at capacity immediately. We expect enrollment to grow gradually over the first few years until it reaches capacity.
Our plans also include building a permanent endowment to provide scholarships to families and to ensure long-term financial strength.

Will you be hiring? How can I apply?

If you have experience in early childhood education, we would like to visit with you!
At this point, we are keeping a list of all interested parties. The Vision Board will start with the recruitment of a Director with a degree in Early Childhood Education, and preferably experience managing a center. The Director will ultimately hire all the teaching staff, food service and aides. As a Step Up to Quality center, all staff will be fully screened and required to complete initial and continuing education. If interested, please email us at hello@stickcreekkids.com

How can I get involved in the Stick Creek Kids project?

The Stick Creek Kids leadership team would LOVE to have more people actively involved in the project and has several opportunities available. These can include event planning, fundraising, grant writing, administrative work, and community outreach projects. Please reach out to Elizabeth Troyer-Miller at 574-304-6548, Chelsie (Lammers) Doane at 308-380-2552, or email us at hello@stickcreekkids.com to get connected.