Story by Tess Sousek
FALLS CITY (SNR) - After completing the new recreational building, the Roh Center at Sacred Heart School in Falls City, Father Thomas Dunavan had the desire to find a way to utilize the space of the old cafeteria.
In looking to the community, he and the governing board saw a great need for infant care, and wanted to offer families a Christian daycare option that would serve their needs as well as help them get involved in their community. Thus, Sacred Heart’s “Daycare & Learning Center” was born.
Far more than just babysitting, the center teaches children the presence of God in their own lives every day. From saying grace before meals to going on walks through the church, many of the teachers try to incorporate spirituality into the little things.
“When we talk about bugs outside, we say how God put them here,” said director Vicky Froeschl. “I try to pull it into if we see a pretty flower or butterfly – that God is always with us.”
Froeschl said she is looking to bring in more faith-based projects and activities, especially for the younger kids. Children of all faiths are welcome to attend the daycare.
The daycare was completed with the volunteer help of the community, and has benefitted both families within the Sacred Heart school system and outside of it.
“We had some great young couples that really stepped up,” Father Dunavan said. “They just were really influential. They had contact with other couples, and they knew there was a need, so they stepped up to help with that project. That was critical.”
Volunteers helped with painting and renovating the building for the new daycare. Many appliances were also donated, like the washer and dryer, and several kitchen appliances.
Recently, the daycare has started offering after-school care for school-aged children, in addition to their infant care.
“It’s another service we wanted to offer for families who don’t have care for their children (after school), and they still need to go to a job when school is out,” Froeschl said.
Father Dunavan said the daycare is looking to expand for Christmas break, and to develop a summer program for children, as well.
As children of all ages and abilities, the kids at the daycare are exposed to each other’s differences – a disguised blessing they might not have had the opportunity to experience otherwise. Froeschl said she sees many learning opportunities in the diversity, telling the kids, “when we were made, we were all made differently. God didn’t make us all the same way, but we love each other.”
One of the greatest rewards for Froeschl is seeing the children’s eagerness to learn. While visiting the chapel in the morning, a little girl asked, “what is this place?”, but the same afternoon was able to recognize the Church and say, “I know what this place is: this is Jesus’ house,” Froeschl relayed.
“It’s pretty unique how children are so accepting and willing to absorb God more so sometimes than we, as adults, are, so it’s pretty sweet to hear those things,” Froeschl said.