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CHILDREN thrive through play and exploration

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For Sally Youn, getting the care her son needs is like building an intricate jigsaw puzzle.

 Nathan, now 6, was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder at 2. Along with sensory processing issues, Nathan is largely non-verbal, has a common autism-related eating disorder, wears diapers and is at a greater risk of wandering away.

 “Any of these things would seem to disqualify Nathan from traditional childcare programs. But Greater Midland has been up for the challenge,” said Sally, who enrolled Nathan in childcare last fall at Longview Early Childhood Center, 337 Lemke St.

 Greater Midland opened its newest Early Care & Education Center at Longview Early Childhood Center last summer, offering full- and half-day care for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years.

 The special needs childcare program is a perfect fit for Nathan, who attends morning special education preschool in the same building. Our Greater Midland team works with Nathan’s parents, preschool teacher and therapists to determine how to best meet his needs.

“All of our childcare programs provide a safe, nurturing environment that encourage every child to grow and learn through play and exploration,” said Andrea Secrease, Greater Midland’s director of childcare & early education.

In addition to childcare, Greater Midland offers preschool at its Community Center, North Family Center, Coleman Family Center locations.

The programs are making a difference: 96.8% of children enrolled in Greater Midland programs are meeting their developmental milestones, according to a recent survey.

And it’s making a difference for Nathan.

 “Because we have Greater Midland as a partner, Nathan has a very stimulating and rewarding school day,” Sally said. “He’s actually made friends and is so happy that he doesn’t want to leave at the end of the day. It’s just amazing.”

Free Summer Camp Kickoff event planned for Greater Midland Community Center

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Free Summer Camp Kickoff event planned for Greater Midland Community Center

Even with snow on the ground, it is never too early to start thinking about sunshine and summer camps!

 The region’s annual Summer Camp Kickoff event will be held Saturday, March 9 at the Greater Midland Community Center, 2205 Jefferson Ave. in Midland.  The free event is held 12pm to 3pm and will host over 25 different area camp organizations.  Kids and families are encouraged to jump from station to station and plan their summer camp adventures!

 Along with dozens of area summer camp vendors, attendees can participate in a series of fun family events.  Face painting, a bounce house, games and crafts, and door prizes are all planned for the afternoon. 

“Every child should have the opportunity to attend a Summer Camp. This is a great event for families to check out camp options in the Great Lakes Bay Region and beyond!” said Shane Forfar Director of Summer Camps at Greater Midland.  “We have been thrilled with the variety and quantity of camps involved and are excited to connect them with so many families.”

 Summer camp opportunities are offered from the following organizations: Alden B. Dow Home and Studio, Bay City YMCA, Baysail, Bayshore Camp, Camp Fish Tales, Camp Greenwood, Camp Hayo-Went-Ha, Camp Skyline, Camp Timbers, Camp Westminster, Chippewa Nature Center, CREATIVE 360, Engineering for Kids, Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, Great Lakes Loons, Greater Midland Community Center, Greater Midland North Family Center, Greater Midland Tennis Center, Lake Ann Camp, Lookout Summer Camp, Midland Center for the Arts, Midland Soccer Camp, Mystic Lake Camp, Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum, Salvation Army – Midland, Studio 23/The Arts Center, Sylvan Learning, the Springs Ministries, the Fowler Center of Outdoor Learning, the Saginaw Bay Community Sailing Association and Upbeat Music Academy.

 Learn more at www.greatermidland.org/events/summer-camp-kickoff or call Shane Forfar at 989.832.7937 ext. 2204. The event is free to attend.