In October, the IPC Strategic Planning Team met with Jennifer Franco, Director of Creative Beginnings Child Care, to discuss how we might best align our church resources and new mission commitment to assist with some of her immediate program needs. One of the first topics discussed was how IPC could partner with CBCC to help upgrade and improve their visibility through better advertising and an upgraded website. Both are needed to help CBCC grow and attract more families.
Out of this discussion, we identified some outside resources who would be willing to work with us to help create a new logo and image for CBCC; create a working Facebook page; and upgrade their web design, content, and search engine. A colleague of Carol Herring is now working on the logo; a contact of Jim Tappon’s has started work on a Facebook page and search engine issues; and our IPC web designer and site host, Rob Marriage, has agreed to help with the website redesign. Rob has also agreed to host the CBCC site on his server at no cost. All of these projects are currently underway. While some of this consulting time will be donated, there will be some modest costs to complete these projects.
A second initiative was to design and order a sign for CBCC to display on the front lawn of the church. Right now, they have little to no visibility at our location. Steve Bryson took the lead on this, and a new sign was designed, delivered, and recently installed (see photo). A separate 3’ x 6’ vinyl banner has also been ordered to be hung on the outside of the Christian Education building. This should arrive and be installed by the end of November.
In addition, the team also discussed the opportunity to utilize direct mail through the USPS to send information on CBCC directly to families in the immediate area. This would require more significant funding and planning, and seems best suited to specific fund-raising efforts. Some ideas were discussed, but immediate action was tabled until further fund-raising ideas to support this effort could be developed.
Next, discussions turned to ways that IPC members could donate their time to help CBCC in its actual programming with children and families. Jennifer outlined the following opportunities:
- Volunteers who would be willing to read stories, do crafts, or sing songs with the children. (Kathy Thomas has already asked about the possibility of teaching some of the older students how to play the chimes.)
- Adults willing to serve as substitute childcare workers when staff are ill or need time off. This would require a mandatory background check, fingerprinting, and simple instruction.
- Childcare coverage and basic programming for a few hours on a weeknight or weekend night so that parents can have a night out. One specific idea was to host an event like this around the holidays so parents could do some Christmas shopping. Jennifer was asked to survey CBCC parents to determine their level of interest and participation in such an event before planning.
Finally, the team discussed the need to pursue additional funding solutions through grants and other avenues. IPC will be pursuing a grant proposal with Presbytery to help defray some of the outstanding debt CBCC has incurred from past operations. Recently, Jennifer also met with Linda Bryson to explore other grant opportunities that may be available for specific programs like playground equipment and upgrades, teacher training and certification, subsidies for parents, and other targeted needs. Linda has past experience and success with grant writing as a former East Irondequoit school teacher. Key grants to also be researched and pursued are Town of Irondequoit community grants and a pre-K program partnership with the East Irondequoit School District.
Each of these initiatives is designed to advance our mission of supporting child care and CBCC in Irondequoit. Given the range of initiatives, there are ample opportunities for each of us to help out and serve in some capacity, whether by volunteering our time, our skills and expertise, our monetary donations, or our help in organizing fund-raising opportunities. Where do your gifts fit in?
- Advertising & marketing (promotions, mailings, signs, media outlets)
- Web and social media (web design, Facebook)
- Childcare volunteer (substitute teacher; reading or craft specialist)
- Event organizer (Family night out events; fund raisers)
- Grant writer; funding specialist
- Benefactor; general donor
Together, we can all serve to make affordable and compassionate child care a hallmark of IPC and our mission in this community. Watch for continuing opportunities in the weeks ahead to volunteer your time and gifts to this effort. In the meantime, think carefully about where you would like to serve, and reach out to the Strategic Planning Team or church session members with your thoughts and ideas.