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