Child Care Center Goes from Vision to Reality in Clay Center, Nebraska

Clay Center’s Jessie Anderson and co-workers help bring a child care center from vision to reality. Now 40 kids are anxiously awaiting a state operating license

With no licensed facilities, Clay Center is experiencing a shortage of child care services. In fact, this May, there were only six daycare facilities in all of Clay County, Neb., an area of 573 square miles! But thanks to the collective efforts of Clay Center Innovation Partners, Inc., Clay Center Child Care Committee volunteers, Waypoint Bank – Clay Center Branch President Jessie Anderson, and other Waypoint Bank staff, The Clay Center Child Care Center is about to become a much-needed resource for the community.

In May 2022, community members, parents, business owners/managers, and school board members met to discuss community needs. Those needs are providing quality child care in Clay County – which ranked near the bottom in the lowest number of daycare centers per capita statewide (68 out of 93 counties) – was at the top of the list. Nine people volunteered for a committee that met monthly to further identify needs, research available grants, tour other facilities, evaluate potential locations, and then come up with an action plan.

“As our community wants to grow and attract qualified employees for our businesses and school districts, we need to have quality child care so that parents feel reassured their kids are in good hands while they work,” explained Jessie. “After working with our local school board, we were able to find four classrooms in the Clay Center School building that would work great for a child care center.”

She shared how the committee created a business plan, submitted grants, and in May 2023 was awarded a Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services expansion child care grant for $230,560. “We had a tight timetable, but on August 1 we were honored to have a great turnout and show the public our facility. We also had a community workday for the outside play area on August 17.”

Anderson is grateful Waypoint Bank allowed her team to work on this project during business hours. Also that the bank understands the importance of community projects. Loan Clerk Lisa DeBord spent many hours working on grants for this project. And, Loan Officer James Martin led the community workday and serves as Treasurer of Clay Center Innovation Partners, Inc. To further demonstrate commitment to seeing Clay Center grow and prosper, Waypoint Bank and each member of the Clay Center staff became a member of Clay Center Innovation Partners, Inc.

“I’m proud to work for a community bank that is always willing to give back to the community it serves and allowed me to spend many hours on this project – I couldn’t be more pleased with how it all turned out,” explained Jessie. “I love how so many people became members of Clay Center Innovation Partners. It takes a village to get things done in a small town, and I know Clay Center has great support. I can’t wait to see what project we’re doing next.”

The Clay Center Child Care Center, which is now waiting for licensing approval from the State, anticipates a grand opening on September 15 and has 40 children on its waiting list.

Photo: L-R, Waypoint Bank – Clay Center Branch President Jessie Anderson, The Clay Center Child Care Center Director, Kayla Anderson, Clay Center Child Care Committee member Donita Furman.

You are leaving