GRINNELL, IA – Community members and business leaders convened 20 months ago to address the childcare desert in Grinnell. A collaboration between the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce, Pow-I80 and JMP Early Childhood Iowa yielded a feasibility study that confirmed the Grinnell area has a severe shortage of child care spaces to serve the community. Since the initial results were released in June of 2018, a dedicated group has been meeting regularly to identify solutions to the ongoing childcare challenges facing Grinnell.
After spending much time exploring multiple options, completing due diligence, and formulating ideas and possible solutions, a new nonprofit is making an after-school program a reality in the community. LINK Grinnell is being formed as a 501(c)(3) organization positioned to addressfamilies’ needs for child care with the initial development of an after-school program. The organization aims to support the community’s long-term and ongoing efforts of childcare and youth development in Grinnell.
The feasibility study identified a number of needs related to childcare which included identifying a shortfall and immediate need for 437 additional before-and-after-school care spaces. A follow-up survey conducted with parents in the Grinnell-Newburg School District early last fall confirmed a large community need for care, enrichment, and education opportunities for school-age students. Of the nearly 200 parents who responded, 39% said they needed and/or would consider a before- school program while 74% said they would utilize an after-school program. After compiling this information, the steering committee determined supporting an after-school initiative would be the best starting point.
LINK’s mission is to lead, inspire, nurture and keep children educated, enriched and engaged in the Grinnell community. Efforts are underway to launch the program as quickly as possible in the 2019-2020 school year. Founding board members are working now to secure partnerships and collaborations with area employers, and are working with the Grinnell-Newburg School District to house the program at Davis Elementary School. The program will be available for a daily rate and also offer a sliding fee scale to qualified applicants.
The organization is initially looking to hire an executive director, an on-site school supervisor, and program leaders. Each of these job postings will soon be available at linkgrinnell.org. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org for position consideration.
Individuals interested in signing students up for the program should visit linkgrinnell.org and submit the form. Additional details regarding schedules and program registration will be communicated in early August.