Kearney is a key city along the I-80 stretch through the State of Nebraska. It is no surprise that this city continues to grow every year. New construction is a continuing theme for Kearney. With the development of new shopping centers, apartment complexes, national banks, family homes, restaurants, medical facilities and movie theaters, Kearney is creating a active community for all its citizens.
Included in the list of new construction, is the development of the St. Luke’s Childcare Center. St. Luke’s is a non-profit organization that is apart of the Good Samaritan Society, which was founded in 1922. The Evangelical Good Samaritan Society is based out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Good Samaritan Society has over 250 skilled nursing, assisted living and childcare centers around the country. St. Luke’s partners with the St. Luke’s Good Samaritan Village, a skilled nursing facility and the St. Luke’s Countryside Villa, an assisted living facility.
Prior to building the new St. Luke’s Childcare Center, services took place in a 115-year-old building. The building had been deteriorating for years and was facing numerous infrastructure problems. The need for a new childcare center became mandatory. Three dedicated women stepped up to take the challenge. Jen Meyers the Executive Director for the Good Samaritan Communities for Nebraska, Kellie Abood the Resource Development and Marketing Director, and Loree Johnson the Director of the St. Luke’s Childcare Center. These ladies became the driving forces behind the project.
St.Luke’s received a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant awarded from the State Department of Economic Development. Many people in the community supported the project as well. Donating items, sponsored fundraisers, and monetary gifts made this project a winner. Other participants who made St. Luke’s possible were BD Construction and Wilkins-Henrichs-Stober architects.
The newly constructed St. Luke’s Childcare Center is 5,800 sq/foot, serves 100 children daily, handicap accessible, customized equipment for young children, offers extended hours, all in the comfort of a friendly learning environment. St. Luke’s is able to open their doors to 25 more children thanks to the additional space the new facility offers. In turn, more Kearney families have access to good childcare. St. Luke’s location is also strategic to the overall contribution to the community. Placing the childcare facility within close proximity of many local industrial plants simplifies transportation obstacles for parents who are employed for those companies.
St. Luke’s is also a home for residents of the Good Samaritan Village. The citizens of the Good Samaritan Village are encouraged to interact with the children as much as possible. Many intergenerational activities take place on a daily basis. Children visiting the residents, or residents visiting the children. The residents and children are able to read together, do crafts or simply spend time together. The new area St. Luke’s Childcare Center provides, allows instructional courses in CPR and Certified Nursing Assistant classes. A vast gathering room holds the annual Christmas and Spring children’s programs.
A key component that St. Luke’s Childcare Center wanted to accomplish was increasing the participation of Low-Moderate Income households. The need for quality, affordable childcare in the community was reaching its threshold. St Luke’s is proud to be apart of a solution to better serve community needs. The number of LMI households who are able to afford quality childcare has increased due to St. Luke’s.
St. Luke’s Childcare Center in Kearney has been extremely beneficial for the city as a whole. St. Luke’s has a positive impact for 63 companies in the Kearney area, due to cost efficient, convenient location, and quality care that St.Luke’s provides. St. Luke’s is a great location for children to learn, as well as providing emotional and economic relief for working parents. Childcare is an aspect of a city that effects all dimensions of working families. In addition to Kearney’s continued growth of new construction in business and recreational districts, St. Luke’s is also a major selling point for residential recruitment.