Keweenaw Bay Building New Children’s Center

May 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 17-4: Reforming Our Schools, Native Style, Tribal College News


CHERISHABLE CHILDREN. The new child care center will provide a place for children of the community such as Assiniis Chosa to learn and play.

Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College (KBOCC, Baraga, MI) is building a unique children’s center where children of all abilities can play, learn, and grow together. For children in wheelchairs or using other devices, the center will allow them to engage in all areas of play including access to a two-story mine feature with a lift elevator.

“Often times, children with special needs are left on the outside looking in. The Children’s Indoor Play Center will be accessible for children of all abilities to interact together,” according to KBOCC President Debra Parrish. Having an indoor center is especially important for this reservation located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the shore of Lake Superior.

The center will allow tribal college students to practice their early childhood education skills near the college. It will also provide evening day care for students at the college and respite care for parents who need some time to themselves. It was expected to open in June 2006.

The college received two grants for the center, a $50,000 challenge grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and a generous donation from the Ruth Danley & William Enoch Moore Charitable Trust. The center will include several special features, including a cuddle therapy swing and fiber optic curtain in the sensory room, a nature trail with an Ojibwa wigwam for storytelling, kitchen, offices, conference room, and a welcome area designed to depict the local history.

Various ethnic groups will be represented by paintings of children in traditional garments. The center has involved KBOCC construction trainees, volunteers, and other tribal college students. In addition, local businesses have donated various building materials to assist with the project. Elementary and high school students designed murals for each play area.

Since Kellogg provided a challenge grant, matching funds need to be raised. Plaques are available in gifts of $100, $500, or $1,000. Rooms or individual play areas such as the sensory room or lift elevator can also be supported through sponsorships.

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