Recently, Metro United Way's Excellence Academy early learning program - developed in partnership with Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C) and The Lift a Life Foundation - was able to expand to include two new early learning centers. At the corner of 41st and Greenwood Avenue - one of our priority neighborhood zip codes, you'll find one of these centers, Trinity House Child Development Center. Unfortunately, this is a toxic and stress-filled neighborhood that is often times described as a war zone because it's not uncommon for children and staff to hear gun shots from the school building.
However, within the walls of this building, you'll find a heart of gold in Mrs. Rose, the center owner and director. Along with her husband, they pour their blood, sweat and tears into creating a space that is safe for children to attend and to get away from the daily challenges they face in their neighborhood.
When Mrs. Rose lost her son to gun violence two years ago, her hope for all good things in her community vanished. But after meeting with the coaches from the Excellence Academy and touring other sites, this hopelessness changed into joy and thankfulness. Everyone at Trinity House CDC were immediately inspired to make changes in their center!
Before Excellence Academy
After Excellence Academy
The small changes they made to their environment brought big changes for the children, their teachers and their community. Mr. Rose removed tree stumps to create a sitting area in their garden space. One of the teachers who noticed the lack of beauty along her bus route to and from work planted flowers. The teachers also incorporated home-like touches around the center and in their classrooms.
During a staff meetings while Mrs. Rose was speaking, one of the teachers touched her arm and exclaimed, "Mrs. Rose, you're back...you're back, Mrs. Rose!" In that moment, the staff could see that the hope had replaced hopelessness and becoming an Excellence Academy meant a new beginning for all of them as well as their children!