Coming together for children for 47 years
Editor's note: This is the latest in a series of articles highlighting the agencies that receive funding from United Way of Ellis County.
Most people know the famous quote about a village raising a child, and if you observe the people of Ellis County on any given day, you will see this phenomenon in action.
For every child who lives and grows up in this community, there is a network of caring, supportive people who are willing to take responsibility for nurturing and helping children thrive. It's not surprising that individuals, businesses, organizations and families have a history of rising up to the challenge, uniting together and helping to raise the children of Ellis County.
So, when Clifford and Lulu Danielson, Clem and Bernita Hammerschmidt, Marcellus and Alice Leiker, Wayne and Wanda Miller, Mike and Mickey Rupp, the Special Education Department at Fort Hays State University, and Arc of the Central Plains founded the Hays Daycare Center for Exceptional Children in 1966, they implemented a mission to provide and promote quality care and educational experiences for young children and families.
In 1968, United Way recognized the need and importance of this service to the community and, by 1978, this vital program -- now known as the Hays Area Children's Center -- was serving hundreds of families and reaching out to the children of Ellis County.
In the past 47 years, the vision of these amazing people continues to impact our community. Hays Area Children's Center has served thousands of families through Infant Toddler Early Intervention Services and Healthy Start Home Visitor at no cost to families in Ellis County. These community programs are both vital and necessary, providing year-round comprehensive services for families with infants and toddlers, including developmental screenings, services for children with special needs and support for families who are parenting a newborn.
Community support helps make these programs accessible to families who might not otherwise have the resources they need to help their children. The founders of the Hays Daycare Center for Exceptional Children knew the people of Ellis County always would make children a priority because families are valued in our community. They established a precedent and created a vision, and the Hays Area Children's Center continues to carry out their mission today.
Everyone in this community is an integral part of the Infant Toddler Early Intervention Program and Healthy Start Home Visitor. Donations, referrals and resources are only a part of this 47-year-old network. Everyone in the village has a responsible role; everyone in the village benefits from helping a child and a family.
Everyone in the village is rising up to the challenge.
On Nov. 23, the people of Ellis County are invited to the Hays Area Children's Center Christmas Tree Lane and Auction at the Fox Pavilion. This is an annual community event to raise funds for programs and services for children and families. Please join HACC, their families, friends and community members as they honor volunteers and continue supporting the legacy begun in 1966.
Contact Kelly at (785) 625-3257 or firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase tickets for an unforgettable evening to celebrate children, families and the villages who help raise them.