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.”

Caty McNally Caps Off Career Week With 2019 Dow Tennis Classic Singles Title

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MIDLAND, Michigan, February 3, 2019 – She was given a wild card spot into the main draw and was drawn into the toughest road to the singles finals of any competitor in the event.  She’s only 17 and had just one professional singles title before this week.  On paper, everything was stacked against Caty McNally this week in the Dow Tennis Classic (DTC). 
 
Good thing tennis isn’t played on paper.
 
Even in Sunday’s final after the 17-year-old Cincinnati native took the first set 6-2 and jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second set she was still battling through adversity.  Pegula broke McNally and was able to bring the set back to 5-4.
 
“It got a little tight,” said McNally of the second set, “but I tried to just go back to my routines and remember to play my game, and I think I did that – especially on the last point – really well.”
 
No stranger to the pressure, McNally closed out the match in the ensuing game to win 6-2, 6-4.
 
If there was any doubt of Caty McNally’s ability to overcome adversity coming into this weekend it surely doesn’t exist anymore.  McNally battled each day, playing some of the best tennis of her career, as she continues to move further along in her young career.
 
“I had some of the biggest wins of my career here,” noted McNally, “It just kind of shows that my game is at that level and it just gives me more confidence for the rest of the tournaments.”
 
While she hopes to take home many more trophies in her career, at least for the time being this one will be front and center in her trophy case as McNally says her 2019 DTC singles trophy will be placed somewhere that it will be the first thing she sees each morning when she wakes up.
 
If this week’s results have anything to show for her future, McNally – who says she will take the next couple of days to watch some football and celebrate with her family – is very quickly becoming a force to reckoned with in the tennis world.

McNally and Pegula to Face Off in Singles Final; Govortsova & Savinykh Earn Doubles Title

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MIDLAND, Michigan, February 2, 2019 – Some things in life just belong together. What’s peanut butter without jelly? Or cookies without milk? Or Caty McNally without Jessica Pegula?
 
McNally and Pegula first played doubles together in 2018.  he duo would win their first event playing together in October. Just over three months later, at the 2019 Dow Tennis Class, the duo has a chance to take home some silverware again.
 
The catch?  It’s in singles this time.  And they’re playing each other. 
 
McNally and Pegula each earned straight set victories in Saturday’s semifinal round, taking down top seeded Rebecca Peterson and Robin Anderson, respectively, to set up their match-up in Sunday’s final.
 
“It’ll be fun!” said Pegula on the chance to play her doubles partner McNally, “We started playing together last year and she’s been doing really well. It’ll be interesting!”
 
The pair had slightly different routes to get to this point. Pegula was the fourth seed in the singles draw and was the favorite heading into every match she has played this weekend. On paper, Pegula is probably the favorite heading into tomorrow’s final as well. 
 
Pegula won pretty handily in straight sets the one time the pair faced off in a professional match. Don’t count out the 17-year-old Cincinnati product, however, as she is no stranger to taking down tough opponents. 
 
McNally, a wild card in this week’s tournament, has taken down seeded opponent’s in three of her four matches. One of those opponents was this event’s defending champion. Another was the top seed and 57th ranked player in the world, in Rebecca Peterson.
 
“It’s given me so much confidence,” said McNally about her wins over tough competition this week, “It’s shown how much my game has matured and that I’m at the same level as them.”
 
So, while the duo couldn’t quite replicate their October success in doubles, one of them will be taking home the 2019 Dow Tennis Classic title on Sunday.

In the doubles final, Olga Govortsova and Valeria Savinykh were able to take down Coco Gauff and Ann Li in a battle of first time doubles partners. 
 
The match opened with each pair trading points, but with the score at 4-4 in the opening set, Govortsova and Savinykh were able to break Gauff and Li, and from there would win 7 straight points to close out the match 6-4, 6-0.
 
“It was the first time I’ve seen them [play]. They’re really young and they’re playing really well,” said Govortsova of her doubles final opponents, “At four-all I knew we would have to step it up and be more aggressive and I felt like when I started being more aggressive and hitting better balls we broke their rhythm and that helped us to win.”
 
According to Gorvotsova, Savinykh is quite the baker so they’ll be celebrating tonight’s victory with a homemade cake.
 
“Yes, it’s a baking night tonight!” said Savinykh with a laugh, “Then tomorrow it’s back to practice, I’m going to come here to practice with the boys team from [Northwood] University.”