The idea of day care is still pretty new in Appalachia. There are big extended families and family ties mean everything. But divorce is becoming more common, and people have to work longer hours to make ends meet. Even when families are intact, there’s need here-kids are hungry and cold.
An Global Impact member agency runs a daycare center in Appalachia and the most they charge is $11 a day-many families can’t even afford that. The daycare’s primary job is to make sure that the kids are warm and fed. But the program forms a foundation in learning and self-esteem that lasts a lifetime.
Hallie’s thin, exhausted-looking mother brought her to daycare one winter day; Hallie’s hair was unclean and matted. She didn’t say a word and looked about three years old. Hallie’s mother and father were divorced, she had very little money, and she didn’t have the strength to raise a small child alone.
Hallie was bathed and bundled in some warm clothes that first day, and was bathed and clothed whenever necessary. She ate warm, nutritious food. Once she was cleaned up, warm and fed, she came to life. From a timid little mouse who kept to her self and didn’t seem to know simple, three-year-old things, she blossomed into a sweet girl who’s learning her ABCs and numbers.
The philosophy behind the program believes that all life is a circle: self, family, community, country, world, and universe. Every one of us is important because we are part of a bigger whole. And we are all responsible for what happens in our world. Teach this to a child who has nothing and you help create a mature, contributing adult.