Day­care deficit

Peo­ple en­cour­aged to at­tend rally on Mon­day to help save Jewels and Gems Day Care

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE smont­gomery@cb­post.com

Jewels and Gems to close for good July 31.

A Glace Bay man is en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to at­tend a rally at the Jewels and Gems Day Care, Mon­day at 12:30 p.m., in hopes of sav­ing the fa­cil­ity.

“This is our chil­dren’s fu­ture we’re deal­ing with here, day­care is a good start in life for kids,” said Wayne Mauger.

Af­ter serv­ing the com­mu­nity for 36 years, of­fi­cials with the day­care cen­tre have con­firmed they will be clos­ing for good, July 31.

Mauger was shocked to take his grand­child to the day­care cen­tre on Tues­day and be handed a no­tice of the pend­ing clo­sure, with the de­ci­sion to close com­ing be­cause the day­care cen­tre was un­able to keep up with fi­nan­cial costs of the oper­a­tions.

His grand­child, who at­tends the day­care cen­tre, starts school in the fall but he had also ap­plied for his 11-month old grand­child to start at­tend­ing the day­care in Fe­bru­ary. Four months ago, Jewels and Gems re­ceived a li­cence al­low­ing chil­dren as young as 18 months to at­tend the day­care cen­tre.

“Why get the li­cences and then four months later de­cide to close?” Mauger asked.

He won­dered what else was be­hind the de­ci­sion and why gov­ern­ment isn’t step­ping in to help.

“You should be able to add on child-care seats in­stead of sub­tract­ing them. What you’re go­ing to have now is a pile of un­su­per­vised chil­dren in peo­ple’s homes.”

Mauger, a mem­ber of the Bay Boys mo­tor­cy­cle club, he plans on bring­ing mem­bers to the rally.

“I like that day­care — I never had any is­sues through­out the the years. I was treated very well. Even if some­one buys the build­ing, that’s OK, I just want that day­care left open.”

Cather­ine Roach, di­rec­tor, said it’s dev­as­tat­ing but a de­ci­sion they had to make be­cause of the fa­cil­ity be­ing in fi­nan­cial deficit.

“That’s why we’re clos­ing, we’re go­ing to sell the build­ing to pay our deficit off. It’s been go­ing on for a few years now, we just can’t con­tinue.”

Roach said over the past cou­ple of year’s at­ten­dance at the day­care cen­tre has been de­clin­ing.

The day­care cen­tre is non­profit run by a board of di­rec­tors. She said it’s li­censed for 68 chil­dren, but there were only 30 marked for Tues­day. The de­ci­sion was made by the board of di­rec­tors to close on June 23 and staff was in­formed of this de­ci­sion on June 26. Two em­ploy­ees were let go June 26. As of Tues­day, there were eight em­ploy­ees at Jewels and Gems.

Roach said it has been a rough go, as the day­care was forced to move sev­eral times over the years, due to flood­ing.

“We had a lot of ex­tra costs from all the mov­ing around.”

She said it is sad to see it close; gen­er­a­tions have gone through its doors.

“The chil­dren we’ve had, their chil­dren have then come through the doors.”

Roach doesn’t know what she’ll do when the doors close, but she might take a lit­tle break for a while.

“Ev­ery day was a bless­ing. I en­joyed it for the whole 36 years.”

Cathy MacMullen, a cook at the day­care for 21 years, is dev- as­tated.

“I’m 60 years old I can’t go look­ing for another job; it’s too late for me to go look­ing.”

She said most of the em­ploy­ees have been at Jewels and Gems for 10-14 years.

MacMullen hopes peo­ple will at­tend the rally adding: “We be­lieve in mir­a­cles.”

Cather­ine Muller, a spe­cial needs co-or­di­na­tor, has been with the day­care 36 years, since it opened.

Muller said she was shocked when news of the clo­sure came down.

“I can’t say I saw it com­ing, but there were signs.”

Both work­ers said day­care staff and par­ents have al­ways fundraised to help with costs at the Jewels and Gems.

“Par­ents were great con­trib­u­tors and giv­ing do­na­tions for fundrais­ers,” Muller said.

She said staff will be at the rally Mon­day.

“It’s to make peo­ple aware in the town.”

SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Jenna Wil­son en­joys her lunch at the Jewels and Gems Day Care in Glace Bay, Tues­day. Of­fi­cials at the day­care cen­tre con­firmed that af­ter 36 years it will be clos­ing for good on July 31. Sup­port­ers of the day­care cen­tre have planned a rally for Mon­day that they hope will bring com­mu­nity at­ten­tion to the im­pend­ing clo­sure.

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