Providing childcare has been part of the vision of Village Presbyterian Church since its founding. A new childcare center at the church’s Meneilly Center campus is just the latest evidence of that commitment.
“This was part of Dr. Bob’s dream, to get this established,” said Rosemary Marshall, the director of the Village Church Child and Family Development Center. She is talking about Dr. Robert Meneilly, the founding pastor of Village Church and a namesake for the Rev. Robert and Shirley Meneilly Center for Mission at 99th and Mission Road, which houses the childcare center, food pantry, clothing closet, computer ministry, Boy Scouts and other church mission programs.
Marshall traces the origins of the church commitment to childcare back more than 60 years to its founding when Shirley Meneilly started women’s circles and childcare was offered while the mothers got together. The circles grew and childcare along with it. Then the culture changed and childcare was a necessity for working mothers. The Village Church commitment to provide childcare grew along with the changes. “This has gone with the changes in our culture,” said Marshall, who has been part of the program for 34 years.
The new childcare center, which opened last week, increases the capacity from 92 children to 132 and it is already full. The childcare center has been in operation at the mission center since 1995. The center, which has eight classrooms, offers care for children from six months to five years. The new center has safe rooms for storms, community meeting rooms and large play area rooms plus a kitchen and eating area for the children.
Parents from as far away as Olathe and North Kansas City have brought their children to the center. “They are giving us their prize possession,” Marshall said. The children in care at the center get the same instruction as offered during the shorter pre-school hours offered at the church at 67th and Mission.
Any religion is accepted at the center and scholarships are available to families who cannot afford the tuition. “We’re a family,” Marshall said. “Family helps out family,”