BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Andre Farrell opened his brownstone home to the Bed-Stuy community nearly two years ago, providing childcare and afterschool help to a dozen of neighborhood families.
Now, the Brooklyn father and founder of The Katmint Learning Initiative is hoping to raise money to expand the daycare’s services to a new, 10,000-square-foot facility.
The center, which serves up to 30 kids out of Farrell’s Quincy Street home, is set to relocate to a space a block away on Marcus Garvey Boulevard.
The building is nearly 10 times the size of The Katmint’s current venue, equipped with multiple classrooms, an auditorium, playground, cafeteria and more.
“Our goal is for us to be a resource for families and have more of that outreach,” Farrell, 32, said. “Brooklyn is a hometown for families and we want to be able to better serve the people and children.”
The Katmint also offers afterschool tutoring and homework assistance for elementary school students.
Farrell said he opened the daycare in 2013 as a response to the lack of affordable educational options in the area.
“That standard level of education offered in Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Park Slope — all kids should have access to enrichment like that at an affordable cost,” he added.
The center provides half-day services starting at rates of $217 a week.
He and his wife decided to section off their living space to provide a “safe and comfortable” environment for families, which drew parents like Kelli Kathman.
“The Katmint has a personality. From the first day I walked in there, I would have had my kid stay right then,” Kathman said. “I have confidence that Andre’s going to really make the new place feel like a bigger home.”
The organization is looking to raise $30,000 by mid-July in order to open the new center in September.
Free workshops will be available for participants, including discussions on childbirth and healthcare. Farrell also plans on movie nights for children and partnerships with local art galleries and businesses.
He said he hopes the larger venue will allow Katmint to serve as a connector for longtime residents and newcomers as well.
“We hope to welcome new families and help them understand the culture of what’s been going on here, and for those who have been here, help them see the good changes.”