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'Near and dear to me': FREE Malvern concert is fundraising opportunity for future childcare center

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Posted at 11:11 AM, Jun 15, 2024

MALVERN, Iowa (KMTV) — Leaders in Malvern tell me that one of the biggest barriers to growth for their community is a lack of childcare options. We've been following efforts in Malvern and Mills Countyto create more childcare options for the area.

  • On Saturday night, a concert and a fundraiser is just one more step on the road to turning a former nursing home into a childcare center.
  • “It’s just near and dear to me. I was here when they started the very first child development center — Pooh Corners — which, Katrina is a graduate of," said Bonnie Pierce. She and her husband Greg are donating up to $5,000 in matching funds during the Saturday night concert.
  • Bands, Touch of Gray and Hillyard and Sullivan, are performing at Heritage Park on Main Street starting at 6:30 on Saturday. The concert is FREE and there are a variety of ways to donate to the childcare center.
  • Learn More: Malvern Concert Series
  • Donate: East Mills Child Care Solutions

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Leaders in Malvern tell me that one of the biggest barriers to growth for their community is a lack of childcare options. I’m your Southwest Iowa neighborhood reporter, Katrina Markel.

I’m here, in Malvern, because on Saturday night, a concert and a fundraiser is just one more step on the road to turning this building behind me into a childcare center.

“It’s one of the leading causes that people are reluctant to move here,” said Bonnie Pierce.

Pierce’s family won’t directly benefit from the daycare, but Malvern is a town where neighbors look out for each other.

“Emalie’s my next-door neighbor. She has to drive her child to Stanton for daycare, that’s just unacceptable,” said Bonnie, sitting next to Emalie Hogan.

An occupational therapist in Shenandoah, Emalie should have a thirty-minute commute, but Stanton is not exactly “on the way.”

“We spend almost an hour extra time in the car, just with our daycare commute. So, that’s an hour less time that I get to see my kids and just an hour less time you have to get things done,” said Hogan.

On Saturday, the first outdoor concert of 2024, neighbors are invited to donate to the Lakin Foundation Child Development Center. Bonnie, and husband Greg, announced they’ll match up to $5,000 in donations received on Saturday.

“It’s just near and dear to me. I was here when they started the very first child development center — Pooh Corners — which, Katrina is a graduate of...”

That’s true. My old preschool is long gone. In its place, board members hope to convert this former nursing home into a $5 million child development center. I’ve been following their efforts for months.

Sixty-five percent of the funds have been raised from grants and businesses. Now leaders of the nonprofit are asking the public for help with the remaining $1.5 million.

“We're doing this because we see the need in the community,” said Jasmine Zeitner, a mom and board member..

Zeitner is also a school psychologist for the East Mills district. She drives her kids about 10 miles to Glenwood for daycare and then back to Malvern for work. And some kids don’t get any early childhood development.

“I see the really little ones not having any experience being around peers because there’s no daycare options,” Zeitner said.

Bands, Touch of Gray and Hillyard and Sullivan, are performing at Heritage Park on Main Street starting at 6:30 on Saturday. The concert is FREE and there are a variety of ways to donate to the childcare center.

Outside the future home of the Lakin Child Development Center in Malvern, I’m your Southwest Iowa neighborhood reporter, Katrina Markel.