BACK OF THE YARDS — Next week more than $100,000 in free renovations are planned for a daycare center that serves 125 children ranging in age from 6 weeks to 5 years, thanks to the generosity of 150 volunteers.
In February the nonprofit Metropolitan Family Services opened its 26,000-square-foot Learning and Wellness Center, 5338 S. Loomis St., for low-income parents, and now upgrades are being done to improve the facility, said Laura Marlow, senior director of business development for Reed Construction Data, which is spearheading the renovations.
"This is our fourth year volunteering to renovate a property. Last year we were in Denver and spent $240,000 fixing up a homeless shelter," Marlow said. "These projects are coordinated in cities where the annual convention for the American Institute of Architects are held."
She added that rehab work, which will take place June 25, will include painting, putting in new carpet, building a multi-purpose room that would double as an indoor playground and building a staff lounge. Prep work has already begun to ensure that most of the renovations are completed in one day.
The two-story daycare center is the former annex building for Arthur Libby Elementary School, said Lauren Huffman, a spokeswoman for Chicago Public Schools, who added that CPS is leasing the building to Metropolitan Family Services.
Other services offered to parents at the daycare include support services for pregnant mothers, adult and children’s mental health services, legal assistance and job readiness programs.
In a statement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the daycare is a valuable community resource.
"A warm and welcoming environment is an important part of the equation. I am grateful to the many corporate and community partners who are coming together to help beautify one of our newest early childhood facilities," Emanuel said.
Metropolitan Family Services CEO Ric Estrada said the organization is grateful to everyone volunteering their time, money and resources on the project.
“Creating a bright, welcoming space that stimulates children to learn and the community to engage is a valuable service that is very much appreciated," he said.
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