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Chebeague Island child-care program campaigns for new home

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Chebeague Island child-care program campaigns for new home

CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — The island's child-care program, which depends on borrowed space, has kicked off a capital campaign to raise funds for a new and permanent home.

Kids' Place, which has 30 children enrolled between the ages of 4 months and 12 years, is aiming to raise about $130,000 for its own facility. The building will be on the same property as the Chebeague Recreation Center and the Chebeague Island School, according to Kelley Rich, director of the recreation center.

"We're like right back-to-back," she said on Monday. "And we want the Kids' Place to be on this location as well. It's just been so great going back and forth from school and day care. There are no transportation costs involved for the school or parents or the day-care provider. We can walk; it's just feet away."

The property is at the corner or North and Schoolhouse roads.

Kids' Place now shares space in the Recreation Center with the teen room. During the summer it used the kindergarten-grade 2 room at the school.

Rich said Kids' Place's state license restricts it from having more than 12 children at a time.

"We cannot expand our license in the current room (where Kids' Place operates)," she said; with its own space, though, the program should be able to add more children.

She added that due to the relatively small size of Chebeague's year-round population, "we probably would never have 30 at one time. ... But we've had to turn some kids away, a couple here and a couple there, because we've had 12. So we just want to be able to have that flexibility to meet the needs of the community."

The planned Kids' Place building is designed to adhere to the needs of young children as well as to meet all safety requirements. Appropriate space will be provided for indoor and outdoor learning and play, Rich said, as well as storage space and a separate and quiet napping room for toddlers and infants.

The project's steering committee includes Rich, Paige Boisvert, Vicki Todd, Dave Hinchman and Leila Bisharat. Eldon Mayer is fundraising chairman, while Bob Earnest chairs the building committee.

The planners would like to have the money raised and the facility built before winter, Rich said.

"It's a very aggressive goal," she admitted, "but we're hoping we'll meet that."

Rich said her children use Kids' Place. "The socialization is just so huge for their development," she said. "Just being around the other children and seeing different faces and learning different things, I think is the biggest benefit."

People interested in learning more or contributing to the campaign can reach Rich at 846-5068 or crc@chebeague.net.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.