Haskell to Open New Childcare Facility

Feb 15th, 2005 | By | Category: 16-3: Indigenizing Education, Tribal College News
ALTHEA EATON AND AMBER SKYE

LITTLE NATIONS. Althea Eaton (Diné) helps Amber Skye read a book at the new child care center. Photo by Lori Tapahonso

Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU, Lawrence, KS) will open a new, much-needed early childcare center by mid-year 2005. The Little Nations Academic Center (LNAC) will fill the need for affordable childcare for Haskell students and will eventually extend childcare services to children of Haskell employees.

Under the guidance of Regina “Ustee” Grass, newly appointed director, LNAC plans to comply with the Indian Health Service (IHS) model for American Indian Head Start guidelines as well as state and local regulations.

The LNAC project has been fully funded from its inception by grants and donations. HINU received funds from the American Indian College Fund for construction; general funding from Rotary International; funding from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for playground equipment and learning materials; and grant funding from Success by Six for director’s salary and classroom furnishings like cribs, shelves, and books.

The facility’s four classrooms will house 49 children ranging in age from 3 weeks to 5 years. Also a 7,000-square-foot area was fenced in September, surpassing IHS regulations for adequate playground space requirements.

While grant funding insured start-up costs, the LNAC has embarked on a major fundraising campaign to subsidize other staff and operation costs not covered by current grants.

One funding drive, Sponsor a Little One, allows a person or group to sponsor an infant, toddler, and/or pre-school child, thus providing basic needs for that child while at the center.

Another campaign, Match the Year, calls on Haskell alumni to contribute the dollar amount equal to the year of their graduation. For example, a 1973 graduate would contribute $19.73 to the LNAC.

For more information on the Little Nations Academic Center or the funding drives, call (785) 749-8441.

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