Thanks to The Baker-Polito Administration and the Children’s Investment Fund (CIF), a nursery in New Bedford that has been in business for 80 years is getting the upgrade it so desperately needed. The nursery was one of three SouthCoast organizations to be awarded $250,000 through the Early Education and Out of School Time Capital Fund (EEOST).

West End Day Nursery of New Bedford, Inc has been helping children in low-income communities for the past eighty years. It is a “non-profit, tax-exempt, charitable institution organized to provide proper care and supervision to children including family service, child development, education, health, recreation and nutritional programs.”

Amanda Pires, the Assistant Educational Coordinator for the past 15 years, is ecstatic to see the nursery get a much-needed upgrade thank to the grant.

The grants to child care centers and out-of-school time programs range from $100,000-$250,000, and this year the emphasis shifted to provide capital funding needed to address health and safety concerns related to COVID-19.

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The capital grants support major renovation and construction projects at early education and out-of-school time facilities to improve the quality of learning environments for children in Massachusetts. West End Nursery, YMCA SouthCoast, and PACE were the SouthCoast organizations to receive a grant of 250,000 dollars.

Pires said the funds will allow them to redo the kitchen, bathroom, get new furniture, new carpets, and new windows, among other tools that will enhance the learning experience for students.

The West End Day Nursery is a place of love. Pires explained how the majority of faculty and staff have been with the institution for decades, some for almost forty years. The only improvement they need is a better work environment.

“It is going to tremendously change their education,” Pires said. “It will be an easier to clean environment, with items like portable sinks for outside, and it’s going to make the teachers’ lives easier so they can focus on the children more.”

In the past, the building had caught on fire, leading students and staff to relocate for almost a year.

“The building has been through a lot, the kitchen has seen better days," she said. "We returned after the fire, but everything is still so old. It’s going to be really nice to see new windows and doors.”

Governor Charlie Baker said, “Our administration is pleased to support childcare providers across the Commonwealth who have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to care for children and support families returning to work.”

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito added, "Now more than ever, as families return to workplaces, investments in early education and care settings are vital to provide necessary resources to children and their families through high-quality early childhood education and out-of-school time programs.”

West End is now in the planning process, with help from EEOST representatives, to begin improving the nursery’s condition as soon as possible. Not only will it improve the school’s condition, but it will improve the overall experience for the deserving kids on the SouthCoast.

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