Learning Lamp seeking community help in relocating Child Care Center

Local News

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Learning Lamp is seeking help from the community in finding a new location for their Jennerstown Child Care Center.

The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization that started in 2003. Its mission is to provide child care for hundreds of children to help them succeed in life. The organization currently serves over 37,000 children in three states.

The Jennerstown location will no longer be available come late spring of 2022 due to the expansion of the business that shares the building with them. Staff said they’ve come up with no possible options after a seven-month search.

The center serves 34 children ages birth to 12. It also provides a part-day preschool program and summer camps for school-age students. The organization said it’s been serving the community for more than a decade.

An ideal space for the child care center would offer 3,000 to 4,000 square feet of space to lease or purchase within the boundaries of the North Star School District. There would also need to be additional space for an outdoor play area. Director of Community Outreach Lisa Stokfo said that the space would need separate rooms for each age group.

The organization said Somerset County already faces a shortage of child care. County-wide, it’s reported 2,560 children under the age of five needed care in 2020.

“Child care is a critical support for families with young children,” Leah Spangler, president and CEO of The Learning Lamp said. ” Without access to child care, parents are often forced to leave the workforce, and children go without early learning experiences that prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.”

Stofko said that the need for a new location is urgent. She said it would help the organization potentially grow and serve more families and make the transition smoother for families.

“We want to make this a seamless transition for our families when the time comes,” Stofko said. “Child care is hard enough to come by, not just in Somerset County but all over particularly right now. So, we want to make sure the care that we’re providing now and that it’s maintained and we’re in a new location where we can grow.”

Community members with possible childcare center locations within the North Star School District boundaries are encouraged to reach out to Lisa Stokfo at 814-262-0731 ext. 249 or via email at lstofko@thelearninglamp.org.

For more information on The Learning Lamp, head to their website.

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