We are celebrating 25 years on the Campus of Susquehanna University! Our very first facility was built in 1994. Prior to that, all of our early childhood programs were held in church basements, small rented spaces, or even homes that had been repurposed for “day care.”
One of the ways in which we have celebrated this year was by completely upgrading the center’s interior! The kitchen has been expanded and remodeled; the flooring has been replaced; and the walls have all been repainted! We also added a porch for the infants and children’s sized steps to the playground area as well as a new roof! A beautiful new Library was created by staff and furnished in part by a donation from the Selinsgrove Library.
On May 30th, the anniversary was commemorated with a Grand Reopening and Ribbon Cutting and we were joined by over 100 parents, children, current and past Board Members, Susquehanna University Faculty and Staff, and even some of the first SUMMIT-Susquehanna graduates!
Adanma Akujieze, SUMMIT Early Learning Board President, welcomed guests and expressed the organization’s gratitude to the staff, parents, and Board of Directors for ensuring the best care and educational services are provided to children. She also announced that donations are being accepted for the center’s Playground Resurfacing Fundraiser.
Former SUMMIT Board President Tom Martin, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, shared about the history of the center and the need for an inclusive early childhood program where children of all abilities and socio-economic backgrounds could learn and play together. “This was the first building dedicated to childcare, to putting children first. Children learn more from one another and putting children together builds a stronger community.”
Veterinary student Michaela Naugle, one of the very first children to attend SUMMIT Early Learning – Susquehanna, remembered attending as a child with her twin sister, both of whom had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Michaela agreed that, “It’s really important for all kids – no matter what – to come together and learn with each other and not be excluded.”
Former SU president, Dr. L. Jay Lemons, spoke about the affection he had and the great memories made in the days when his children attended the programs, “What a great gift it’s been for our university in a variety of ways to have this learning center and laboratory as part of our campus community.”
Current SU president, Jonathan Green, agreed that the center has also benefitted Susquehanna University students “who have the opportunity to see a best-in-class facility.”
Event attendees enjoyed music by Eric Sundberg, petting reptiles from Ashburn’s Animals, face painting, food, and games. See more photos of the event and view the Live Video from the evening on our Facebook page.
This year, SUMMIT Early Learning is also celebrating 50 years in the Valley. The agency opened in 1969 as Union County Child Development and has since grown to provide early childhood programs and family services in five counties. So, there are a few more celebrations to come!