Lenoir Woods to end child care services

Friday, March 13, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA— Lenoir Woods Community Center will discontinue its child care services, effective this summer.

The center made the announcement during a meeting with parents and staff Wednesday evening, according to a news release. Lenoir Woods is Columbia's largest senior community, with more than 200 residents, according to the release. It is a member of Lutheran Senior Services, a St. Louis-based senior community organization.

"This was not an easy decision for us to make," stated Kent Kirkwood, administrator at Lenoir Woods in the release, but it was a necessary one to maintain our high standards of service to the seniors who call Lenoir Woods home."

"Our Christian mission is helping older adults live life to the fullest, and that is where we need to focus our efforts and our resources," he stated in the release.

Lenoir Woods' Child Care Center was created as a service for its employees, but in recent years it has welcomed children from all over Columbia, the release stated. Fifteen of the 55 children enrolled in the full-time program are from families of the Lenoir Woods staff, according to the release.

The community's human resources department is working with various day care agencies in Columbia to find alternatives to meet the needs of Lenoir Woods employees who had children enrolled in the program, the release stated.

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Megan Clark March 13, 2009 | 7:59 a.m.

As a hospice volunteer, I cared for an elderly patient living at Lenoir for several months in 2008. She was so proud to have a room with windows facing the area where the children would play outside. She loved waving to them and visiting them whenever she could.
I don't doubt that this was a tough decision and that Lenoir, like all of us, is struggling to find ways to cut costs.
However, if Lenoir's goal is "helping older adults live life to the fullest," they're missing an important point: Seniors benefit tremendously from being around young people. And let's not forget the benefits the children receive. Plenty of research has documented great outcomes for both seniors and children who participate in intergenerational programs.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro March 13, 2009 | 11:33 a.m.

The elderly are living longer than ever. Subsequently, time spent at facilities such as Lenoir will also increase.
Without the presence of visits from family and friends, outside groups arranging "field trips," daycare and teenage activities on-site and innovative pet service animal interaction, what a depressing, lonely warehousing of souls such a life will become.
BINGO games and lunch just doesn't seem to be all I want to live for, in my golden years.

(Report Comment)
Tami Price March 13, 2009 | 12:01 p.m.

(Tami Price) As the parent of a child attending Lenoir Woods Child Care, I can tell you that all (if not most) of us parents (as well as teachers) were blindsided by the news that the child care center was closing. And after hearing that they had plans to close it for over a year, and didn't bother to mention it to us, the ones responsible for finding adequate child care for our children, I'm even more appalled. The children, staff and residents of Lenoir Woods will all be affected by this (in many ways) - I know for a fact that the residents enjoy seeing the children every day, and always have a friendly word and/or smile for them. The only thing at issue here is the bottom dollar - not their mission or to enable themselves to better serve the residents. As for the HR department providing assistance to us, I'll believe it when I see it.

(Report Comment)
Joanne Nelson March 13, 2009 | 12:05 p.m.

The Missouri Child Care Resource and Referral Network - Mid Missouri, is a not-for-profit agency, that provides free referrals to parents/families looking for child care. You can contact this agency at (573)445-5437 to get a list of child care providers who meet each families individual needs. A parent/family can also utilize their website to download a list of child care providers.

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Tracey Turner March 13, 2009 | 1:52 p.m.

It is very apparent that those making this decision made it only for financial reasons. Saying that the child care provided by this center in no way goes along with their mission to "help older adults live life to the fullest" shows that they have paid no attention whatsoever to the interaction between their residents and the children in the center. My child has attended Lenoir Woods Child Care for over two years and knows many of the residents by name. She and the residents look forward to and enjoy the intergenerational activities organized by the staff each week. Some residents even ask to celebrate their birthdays with the children. The seniors greatly benefit from having these children in their their home! Research proves this and I see it for myself everyday when I pick up my daughter in the evenings and she and the seniors wave goodbye to each other as she walks by them in the dining room having their dinner. In a year’s time they have gone from adding new kitchen areas in each room, putting in new playground equipment, and promising to add a new building to their campus for the daycare center to now closing the childcare center entirely! This decision and the way it was handled by administration at Lenior Woods is a slap in the face to the children who love the residents and their teachers; and to the awesome, dedicated, loving teachers that are now going to be without jobs; not the mention the parents who have committed thousands of dollars over the years for their children to be a part of this program and who are now scrambling to find quality daycare for 55 children in less than 2 months!

(Report Comment)
Melissa Norris March 20, 2009 | 5:01 p.m.

My daughter has been there for almost 5 years. I can't begin to thank all the staff for their hard work and pride when taking care of our children at Lenoir. I pray that everyone, teachers and kids included, find a place that was as warm and welcoming as Lenoir. I am very disappointed how this was handled by the operational staff of LSS. Letting the parents know about the subsidizing of these services could have made a difference in the outcome. We valued everything about the center and would have liked the opportunity to support its continuance. This decision won't benefit the seniors who have no one to visit them, or the children who read to them. Operations and board members are only thinking of themselves. This will leave a bad mark on Columbia.

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